A gentleman approached a dirty chrome microphone in Port Chester last night.
And as he sung to the glistening graphics that draped across the walls in Capitol Theatre, listeners literally fell to their knees from his overwhelming charm and sentiment.
"Give yourselves a round of applause," the selfless man whispered, staring into the lights offstage, running his crooked fingers through his beard. "I'm so happy to finally see you all again."
He smiled and uttered six words that he knew would light seat cushions on fire, "So what should we play tonight?" the audience, at first in complete silence and then all at once, began to shout the names of the songs they've grown to love.
An ignorant spectator in the back yelled "Freebird." Another cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted "Whipping Post." The man on stage sarcastically complimented the crowd on the variety of their choices.
He was selfless. He was generous. No other performer would have such faith in his fan base to allow them to arrange his set list. It was, as he's been known to call it, an "Iron & Wine buffet." And with a wave, he beckoned the audience for more requests.
Let's take a few steps back: This celestial gentleman, with the mahogany colored hair and faint falsetto-whisper of a voice humbly goes by the name Sam Beam, or Iron & Wine
, and he was put on to this earth to share his colorful imagery with anyone who gives him the well-deserved opportunity.
But I admit that Iron & Wine is not a band that you can digest all at once. It's not a band to blast on your ride home from the beach with all of your sweaty friends cramped in the car. Its an experience. Something that, if had I known to be so true, would've had me leaping at the opportunity to see him live a long time ago. However, word of mouth clearly doesn't spread so easily for a soft-spoken artists like Iron & Wine. So instead, I found myself at Mr. Beam's show last night because a close friend of mine won a pair of free tickets and I was lucky enough to accompany him. And with the help of the slacking security guards that pressed their backs against the walls of the Theatre in un-acknowledgment, we were able to sneak down to the lower level to sit in the velvet seats we weren't assigned.
From that point on, I simply cannot explicate how amazing the performance was. Regardless of what he played, every audience member remained entranced. Every poetic phrase disguised as a lyric was sung whole-heartedly and every colorful jazzy rendition he made as a cover to his own songs were all followed by the loudest roars that I've ever heard from a half-filled theatre (and yes, it saddens me to say that the theatre was in fact half empty).
Even when Mr. Beam fumbled one of his lines or missed the stroke of his strings, the audience forgave him with laughs and open arms. And when the crowd got too rowdy, to the point where he had to tell them to quiet down, Mr. Beam did the same. It was a relationship between the artist and fans that I had never had the privilege of seeing before. A little taste of what its like to welcome the world as your family.
So I would hate to say that you had to be there, but in the case of last night's Iron & Wine show at Capitol Theatre, I see no other honest way of telling you how much magic you missed.
Take it from me, if you get the chance, see Iron & Wine live at any cost.