Iron & Wine @ Radio City Music Hall

by Laurie Henzel

“You guys ready to get all fuckin’ mellow?” 

 This is how Iron and Wine (aka Sam Beam) opened his set to a sold-out crowd at Radio City Music Hall Saturday night. Of course, we all answered by going batshit crazy. I&W’s music has this magical way of whisking you off to a very quiet place, a non-New York City place—with a campfire and hobo pies. 

 And when the dude with the velvet voice grabbed his guitar and began to play ‘He Lays in the Reins,” presto! I was at summer camp circa 1991. Capture the Flag, canoeing, and fireside sing-alongs flashed in my mind. Me and Sam at summer camp. What if he sang Kumbaya at the campfire? Would we make out on a bail of hay at the archery range? How would that beard feel on my face? God, I hate beards.

 But all of that was rudely interrupted by hecklers: 

 “Don’t sell out!”

“You can do it!”  

“Boy with a Coin!”  

Grrr… Now where was I? Oh yea. Soon after came the twangy doo-wop tune “Half Moon,”  from Iron & Wine’s latest album Kiss Each Other Clean. Suddenly, I’m sneaking out from my cabin bunk bed to meet up with some cute girl, whatshername, for a night swim. Cute girl says, “Will you go with me?” and I’m like “okay” and we kept swimming. 

 Of course, the crowd’s tantrums took a time-out when the clap-claps of  “Boy with A Coin,” began. But this version included a back-up band of session musicians: saxophones, trumpet, bass, and some dude who looked like Jerry Garcia playing bongos and shaking maracas. Beam introduced them by saying, “Hey, this is my new band.” And then he turned to them and said, “Don’t fuck up.” Brilliant. 

But Beam was actually the one who fucked up, stumbling on lyrics while playing another song, “Rabbit Will Run,” from his new album. With grace and humor, he just shook his head, muttered an “oh shit,” and kept playing. I totally wanna have a beer with this guy. And some s’mores. 




He Lays In Reins

Half Moon

Fever Dream

Big Burned Hand

My Lady’s House

Naked As We Came

Tree By The River

Love And Some Verses

House By The Sea

Sea And The Rhythm

Me And Lazarus

Summer In Savannah

Boy With A Coin

Rabbit Will Run

Glad Man Singing

Cinder And Smoke


Encore: The Trapeze Swinger

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