This past Monday night, in support of his twelfth album, Are You Serious, Andrew Bird performed an hour-and-a-half set to a near-capacity crowd at San Francisco’s Masonic. Flanked by a rhythm section for the first time in a career where he’s held his own as a solo artist, the music swelled and climaxed at all the right intervals while the lighting in the ornate, historic theatre complemented the intricate, complex melodies beautifully.
“You can’t teach whistling. It’s too gross.” And yet he did just that, and effortlessly, throughout a set that encompassed 20 songs (minus the Neil Young and Handsome Family covers in the encore) spanning a storied career that began when his band, Chicago’s The Bowl of Fire, parted ways. Armed with his violin, he bemoaned the absence of Fiona Apple, who he duets with on his latest hit, “Left Handed Kisses,” and relied heavily on some of his most renowned work from 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha during the second half of the show.
Keeping the audience enthralled is something Andrew Bird excels at, thanks to his affable charm. He made sure to mention, several times, how much he loves San Francisco, that it’s his favorite city. Performing at Masonic is a significant leap from his days performing intimate shows at The Elbo Room and Cafe Du Nord – a telling sign that his music is timeless and continues to convert, if Monday night’s audience was any indication, new fans of all ages.
1) Journey in Satchidananda
3) A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left
6) Are You Serious
7) Truth Lies Low
9) Shoulder Mountain
10) Left Handed Kisses
11) Roma Fade
12) Three White Horses
14) Valleys of the Young
15) Pulaski at Night
17) My Sister’s Tiny Hands (Handsome Family cover)
18) Harvest (Neil Young cover)
19) Professor Socks
20) Fake Palindromes
Huge thanks to Paige Parsons for lending us some of her incredible photos.