Brandi Carlile with The Lone Bellow and Justin Townes Earle at Wolf Trap

As I have previously mentioned I adore Wolf Trap. It is my favorite concert venue. When I saw this concert on their schedule I really wanted to go because I love Wolf Trap and I love all three of these musical acts. However, as I have also mentioned Wolf Trap is a pain to get to from Baltimore on a weeknight and given that I had already seen Brandi Carlile last fall and was going to Newport Folk Festival 2 days later where both The Lone Bellow and Justin Townes Earle are playing I didn’t feel like I could justify a trip down there especially after deciding to go to the Steve Martin and Edie Brickell concert. So I just tried to put it out of my mind. Then one day a few weeks ago I came home from the gym and opened up my email to see that I had an email from my husband with the subject Brandi Carlile tickets.

His company has box seats and Wolf Trap and they are one of the many cultural and sporting events you can enter a lottery for tickets to. Knowing how much I would love this concert he apparently entered the lottery and won us tickets because he is the best husband ever. Even better, along with the tickets themselves we also got passes to go to Wolf Trap’s Encore Circle which is their reception area for their big donors where they have hors d’oeuvres and drinks prior to the show. Plus we got a parking pass for the VIP parking lot right in front of the entrance, which also meant we didn’t have to sit in the traffic jam of cars trying to leave either. So we got to spend the evening hobnobbing among the elite.

The Lone Bellow were up first. They sadly only had time to play 5 songs. They were just as full of energy and as wonderful as they were the last time I saw them. I really wish they had been able to play longer. I will get to see them in Newport on Saturday though, so I won’t be too sad about their short set last night. I’m obviously not the only one in love with them given how long the line still was for them signing merchandise even after Justin Townes Earle’s set 45 minutes later. When I walked by coming back from the bathroom there was a little girl probably about 5 that looked like she was standing there by herself talking to them (her father was off to the side taking pictures). I overheard her telling them that she just graduated from kindergarten. It was the cutest thing ever.

I had never seen Justin Townes Earle live before last night, though I do enjoy his music. He was like your socially awkward cousin scheduled to perform between two fantastic, high energy acts. The music was great, but I can’t say much for his actual performance. Really the only word I can use for it is awkward. He would talk between songs but turn away from the mic in the middle of what he was saying. There wasn’t any real flow to the set either. As I said I enjoyed the music, but I won’t bother seeing him live again.

Brandi Carlile however was nothing but pure joy. I didn’t think I could love a performance by her any more than I did when I saw her last November, but I think I just might have. She said that Wolf Trap is one of her favorite places in the entire world to play. It’s one of my favorite places too Brandi. It’s one of mine too. Words can not express how wonderful and joyful I find Brandi Carlile live. If you have the chance to see her run do not walk. Of course anyone who has pieces of wood set up on the floor and miced to amplify the sounds of stomping in their songs has my heart right away. The music was all fantastic and there was so much dancing, and stories, and ah just so much fun.

Here’s the opening number from last night, “Hard Way Home”.

Brandi has more than enough songs of her own to sing, but she sang 3 covers. You know I love when bands sing cover songs when they perform live. Sometimes it happens because bands don’t have enough of their own music to play as happened the last time I saw The Lone Bellow when they fully admitted they were contracted to play for 90 minutes but only have one album so covers it was. Other times it’s because people have a song of someone else’s that they love to sing/play and they can share it with the audience that way. That’s how I felt about the covers last night. Brandi sang Radiohead’s “Creep” solo, then with the full band played Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”, which was so good. Finally the song she sang during the encore was Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”.

Speaking of encores, at Tuesday night’s show I kind of decided that I’m over the encore thing and don’t want to stand their and clap for a band to come back out on stage. We all know they’re coming back out and encores really aren’t encores anymore they’re just part of the show. So my new rule is that encores should be eliminated unless they’re really and truly encores, which means they would happen rarely. Last night I made an addendum to that rule already, which is that you’re allowed to script an encore onto your set only if you provide a small, adorable child to run around the stage while you’re doing the ridiculous exercise of going off and waiting some amount of time before coming back out. That happened last night. I have no idea who this kid belonged to. I assume she is the daughter of one of the crew members or the band members, but right after the band went off this little girl in a dress who was probably about 2 years old ran out on the stage and stayed out there kind of running around until the band came back out and one of the twins scooped her up and took her off. It was adorable.

It was such a wonderful night and I’m so glad I got to go.

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