Blind Pilot and Gregory Alan Isakov
As the rain started rising from the ground, I ran to Wooly’s while clutching my authentic NOLA fedora hat and hurdling over every puddle. I was slightly dissatisfied that my first Simon Estes concert for the season was brought indoors but hoped that the hot and stuffy venue would dry off my green spring dress. Feeling a little rushed and on edge, I started by snagging a crisp 8-Bit IPA from the bar to settle in. Once I staked my spot I was ritually cast an enormous figure in place of my “perfect view”, and I thought, ‘wonderful, it’s not like I came here to see anything special.’
The chatter subsided, the lights dimmed to gold, and Blind Pilot took the stage. That recognizable, calming voice started radiating from the microphone and my insides instantly turned to jelly; I was no longer sour for any reason. Anyone could see that Israel, the lead singer, sung with great passion—his eyes closed, the strain on his face, and the delicate bounce in his body for each beat illustrated a distinct love for music.
Midway through the show he stripped the music down to a simplistic yet mesmerizing level when he told a story of a fan that listened to their track “Just one”. He described how this fan knew merely with his lyrics that she was following the right path of life for herself even though she strayed away from her family grain. The band held this acoustic, intimate moment all circled around the microphone. Towards the end of Blind Pilot’s set, Israel simply couldn’t wait for Gregory Alan Isakov to play, so they then invited him to the stage. The two incredible musicians took the stage together and graciously took turns singing into the microphone.
When it was time for Gregory Alan Isakov to take the stage for his set you could tell that the crowd couldn’t wait either, avid fans were chanting song titles and saying the first names of the band members like they were on a ‘first name basis’. Gregory Alan Isakov finally came to the stage with such a beautifully melodic presence that even the classic drunk-concert-guy was standing quiet, mesmerized, and saying how beautiful each song was. His band consisted of a violin, cello, bass, banjo, and a variety of guitars, which orchestrated a rich combination of sounds. Songs like “Amsterdam” and “Stable song” demonstrated how Gregory adores music, “I've always had this sense about music and writing, that I sort of have to do it. Like I'll implode without it."
After the set was over the two bands combined once again to perform 3 more songs as an encore. And after the last bow, one would think, well that’s it, ‘I won’t see the band again,’ but even as the lights came back to a florescent white, band members came to tear down their own equipment and meet some of the crowd.
Even though I started the night in a downpour, had beer spilled on me, and witnessed glares from others who despised giants in the crowd, I left with such a positive vibe. As Israel sings, “I can't believe we get just one. Let all things be as they will. Let my heart beat itself still.”