Fresh off the April 1 release of his new album Are You Serious, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird stopped by New York City’s Terminal 5 for one of the early shows of his spring tour.
He opened up his set on Friday, April 8 with “Capsized,” the leading track from the new album, immediately evoking a somewhat western, Quentin Taratino-y vibe that continued throughout much of the show. Showcasing his instrumental versatility, Bird turned his electric violin on its side during a solo to pluck at the strings like a guitar or ukulele.
Andrew Bird is Only Human, and That’s Part of His Appeal
An impeccable songwriter, Bird chooses every word with extreme precision, while maintaining a humble, personable stage presence. He even fumbled the lyrics twice during “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” and paused to chuckle with the crowd, slowing down later in the song to exaggerate his annunciation and extract another laugh.
To the crowd’s dismay about halfway through the show, he said, “Fiona couldn’t make it tonight,” referring to his tortured duet “ Left Handed Kisses” with piano-playing songstress Fiona Apple. “Just pretend that I’m over here and she’s over there,” he said, gesturing to his right before beginning the opening guitar chords.
All was soon forgiven, however, when a massive sparkling disco ball descended from the ceiling to illuminate the stage and the audience during “Plasticities,” a throwback from the 2007 album Armchair Apocrypha. As told by the swaying couples, raised arms, and potent scent of cannabis, this song was the slow jam of the night.
To finish the evening and contrast the show’s earlier sounds, Bird and his supporting guitarist and bassist returned to the stage to surround one mic for an Avett Brothers-esque acoustic session.
They harmonized to the classic-rock sounding song “The New Saint Jude” and the slow ballad “Armchairs” before Bird raised his violin bow, frayed from almost two hours of hard wear, to slide into the iconic intro of “Fake Palindromes,” a perennial fan favorite off his 2005 album The Mysterious Production of Eggs.
A chameleon among genres, Andrew Bird played a sublime set. He displayed mastery over every instrument and a genuine appreciation for his fans — who, by the way, also deserve some recognition for learning the words to all his new songs in under a week. The show was one big sing-a-long and I was happy to be apart of it.
You can hear more from Andrew Bird and find out about his upcoming Are You Serious tour dates here.