Date: November 2nd, 2018
Opening Act: Emma Hern
Carbon Leaf is celebrating 25 years this year and have been touring throughout the US this year. They were supposed to go to Europe end of October but tour mishaps made them cancel due to financial reasons. So hopefully they will get overseas next year for fans that were disappointed they didn’t get over there. They did, however, start their second leg of their fall tour in NYC at their annual Gramercy Theatre stop. Like always, it was fantastic and such a good time.
My brother and I took the train down from Ridgewood, something new for me to try. I was going to drive down to Jersey City and take the PATH but Friday night traffic made me not do that. Train was relaxing for most part, despite 15 minute delay on the way home. I’d do that again, if a show was on a weekend or when I wasn’t working. Trains get home a little late for weekday shows. Once we headed to the venue, we saw a friend who we haven’t seen in over 7 years. It was great to see him and thanks to Carbon Leaf for letting us see each other again. I was supposed to talk with Jon from the band for the podcast, but it was too much for them to do before the show so we postponed that. It took them an hour to park around the venue and they ended up saying screw it, got a parking ticket to park near the venue. Factor that into your budget sometimes it’s not that worst idea.
The opening act was Emma Hern, Nashville act but she’s originally from Richmond, VA so she knows all about Carbon Leaf. She was joined by another female singer and a guy playing an acoustic guitar. She had a great singing voice and fun personality, from what I gathered in-between songs. At one point she was telling people that guy names don’t sound as nice when you sing them. One person yelled at a name and she sung it, and she was like ok I was wrong you can get a sticker. Forgot what the name was though. The fans seemed to warm up to her as the set went along. I enjoyed the last song a lot, with lots of clapping from the audience.
Carbon Leaf came on stage around 9 and started things off with “Seeds,” then played “Wolftrap and Fireflies.” The last few years, the band has tried to mix things up and not play songs they have played the previous years or at City Winery. That was certainly the case with this show. It was a good mixture of old and new, and very new since they played most of the tracks from their new EP The Gathering, Vol. 1. The new EP took 2 or 3 listens to get really into it but now I love it. Hearing those songs live was a highlight for me because it was something I haven’t seen the band do before. Songs like “Come Sunday Morn” and “Bow & Arrow” put a smile on my face. I was singing and dancing after I took some photos in the pit.
They played some usuals like “What About Everything,” “One Prairie Outpost,” “Desperation Song,” which I still like to hear. They did the awesome one mic stuff again, this time for songs “Block of Wood” and “Ragtime Carnival.” At one point, someone called out for them to play “Skeleton Man Dance” from their first album. Barry responded, “one of the first songs we ever wrote, one of the worst songs we ever wrote….hahaha….nope.” That got huge laughs. There’s always some songs you want the band to play. They have a setlist for a reason so it’s kind of hard to shout things out during the show and the band is going to play it…unless the band’s prepared for something like that. Another highlight for me included “Lake of Silver Bells,” which I haven’t heard in awhile. Towards the end of the set, they played “She’s Gone,” “The Boxer” and “Let Your Troubles Roll By.”
For the encore, they played one they don’t normally play with “The Sea,” which I happen to really like. After that, the band came into the crowd, gave some hugs and played one more song for us (“Gift from the Crows”). It was right by me so I was happy to be in a prime spot. I always love it when they do things like that, play with no mics, play in the crowd. They change things up so much each year that it always makes it a must to see them perform each year. After that, the show was over and the band stuck around to talk with friends and fans like they always do. Since my brother and I had an hour to kill, we stuck around to talk with Terry and Jon briefly.
Carbon Leaf continue to impress me and seems like they always up their game in a way. You’re never going to get a stale, always the same type of show from them. It was awesome to hear new material finally from them and hope they release Part 2 of the Gathering in early 2019. Hopefully they have some better touring fortune as well.