Father John Misty 5/12/17

(a) setlist

    1. Pure Comedy
    2. Total Entertainment Forever
    3. Things It Would’ve Been Helpful To Know Before The Revolution
    4. Ballad of the Dying Man
    5. Birdie
    6. A Bigger Paper Bag
    7. When the God of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell to Pay
    8. When You’re Smiling And Astride Me
    9. Strange Encounter
    10. Nothing Good Ever Happens At the Goddamn Thirsty Crow
    11. Funtimes In Babylon
    12. Nancy From Now On
    13. Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)
    14. True Affection
    15. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
    16. I Love You, Honeybear
    17. The Ideal Husband

Encore:

  1. Bored in the USA
  2. The Memo
  3. Real Love Baby
  4. I’m Writing A Novel
  5. So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain
  6. Holy Shit

(b) highlights

  • I got to see Father John Misty three nights in a row in two different venues, pretty sure the whole experience was a highlight
  • My best friends came to this show with me even though they aren’t huge Josh fans (their loss) so the whole night was 60% me having a great time, 25% me asking, “isn’t this amazing?!!”, 10% me asking, “are you enjoying this?? you get, right? do you get it?”, and 5% me saying “this is my favorite part!!!!”
  • Josh played three shows in a row plus a spot at Jimmy Fallon this very same day and wasn’t tired at all, what a champ
  • Farmer Jah Misery forgot the words to “I’m Writing a Novel” ….twice, and then just decided to rewrite the final verse and include a refrain of “T is for Tennessee, T is for Texas…Freedom!” and it was fantastic.

(c) lowlights

  • This crowd was the worst of the three days by far; literally no one likes when that person yells out between songs to commandeer the show. Stop yelling out song titles and dumb shit so the artist will respond to you, this is not your comedy hour – it’s his performance. Go home.

(d) overall thoughts

Three nights in a row of Father John Misty just confirmed that I would literally follow this dude for an entire tour, an entire album, an entire…whatever. The setlist was identical as the previous night, but I didn’t even notice until someone pointed it out to me. When everything can still feel so fresh after three days, you know he’s doing something right.

Something notable to mention is how many tracks completely transformed for me through the process of this show and the whole week, really. I was never a huge fan of “True Affection” on Honeybear; I would often skip it or listen to something else twice in place of that. But the way it’s presented live, it’s impossible for me to not hear it and want to completely lose it in a mindless dance. The stage was backlit pink every night it began so that you could only make out Josh and the band’s outline. A giant neon-seeming heart would pulse and light-up in the upper right corner of the scrim behind the stage. When I hear that song now, I see that heart – it’s still lighting up for me.

On the other hand, I always enjoyed “The Thirsty Crow,” but I don’t think it was until this performance that I actually “got” what it was about. The way that Josh acts out this pseudo-masculine conversation back and forth with a girl who’s only present in the lyrics but not physically onstage completely blew my mind. It felt like watching a play performed aloud that I had only previously read. “When The God of Love Returns” took on a whole new meaning of creation, life, and belief in a way that had completely gone over my head the first 20 times I heard the album. The closing line “To make something out of nothing sounds like someone else I know” feels insanely portentous and crippling and moving live, I cannot believe it didn’t connect sooner. Amazing.

Even classics like “Bored in the USA” and “Holy Shit” come across as Next-Level-Classics when performed in a setting that isn’t your bedroom, or coming through headphones on a crowded train. Hearing others sing along and watching how Josh puts new emphasis on certain words in lyrics you’ve heard a million times is like watching your favorite movie with the director’s commentary turned on. The show couldn’t feel more intimate and you couldn’t feel more connected.

 

Bottom line: Father John Misty’s shows are so memorable and staggering because the context of performance elevates even the simplest of songs; when Josh is able to control how you hear his music and deliver it in a unique way, everything takes on a new meaning. Even if a song goes over your head, all it takes is half a lyric to help you connect, and then the music is all yours.

 

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