People prepare for Thanksgiving in different ways. Me? I prepared for turkey and stuffing by catching Glen Hansard in Atlanta last week. What better way to ease into the holiday, right?
Hansard started the show solo and sans mike, silencing the crowd with “Grace Beneath the Pines,” the opening track from his latest release Didn’t He Ramble. What followed was an outstanding set list that, not surprisingly, leaned heavily on the new album.
“Falling Slowly” and “When Your Mind’s Made Up,” two stand-outs from his Grammy-nominated and Oscar & Tony Award winning film and Broadway hit Once, made welcome but surprisingly early appearances. It speaks volumes when an artist can dispatch with the “hits” early and keep the audience enraptured for the remainder of the night.
Hansard’s ensemble furthered the emotional impact of the evening. Strings, horns and keyboards – in addition to the traditional guitar, bass and drums – added both warmth and intensity to the performance.
The show’s highlight, however, came from an unexpected source. At several points during the evening Hansard was distracted by a woman who would appear periodically at the back of the theater. He later shared that he was told it was the woman checking coats in the lobby.
Upon completing the set, he rushed to the lobby with guitar in hand. He then proceeded to serenade her with “Say It To Me Now” from Once. It turned a comedic bit of stage banter into an incredibly moving moment.
Here are two clips from the show. The first is Hansard’s solo rendition of “Falling Slowly,” during which he made his first reference to the mystery woman in the doorway. Second is the lobby serenade.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.