Sam Beam & friends
Published by JB on September 26, 2013
- Iron & Wine and opening act; Widowspeak
- Hoyt Sherman Place
- Des Moines, IA
When did Sam Beam become so darn friendly? Not that he was ever a jerk, not even close, but with a continuous stream of consistent humor, audience playfulness and brief storytelling – this isn’t what you would expect from an introverted-looking man like Mr. Beam between every song. Yes, every gap between each of the 20 or so tracks on this night were filled with miscellaneous banter. A lot of “Thank you for coming tonight” comments intertwined with audience song requests and “I love you Sam” put a lighthearted tone an evening probably far different than the standing-only audiences Beam has seen during previous shows on the tour. On this night at the Hoyt Sherman Place the audience remained seated for the entire show, soaking in the Iron & Wine catalog with vigorous, appreciative applause throughout and giving the band a rousing, standing ovation at the end.
I was front row two years ago when Beam and Iron & Wine came to Des Moines at a standing room only downtown venue. Not much has changed but the song catalog continues to grow in both volume and quality. New tracks such as ‘The Desert Babbler’ and the stunning ‘Baby Center Stage’ simply move Beam into the elite group of singer/songwriters roaming around the planet at a theater near you. ‘Center Stage’ is simply the prettiest song of 2013. New songs were met with equal applause up against the older ‘classics’, as well they should. Onstage, every track features Beam on acoustic guitar where he is a tiny maestro. In fact, despite the fullness of sound from the band onstage, Beam is the only guitarist for the entire show. It’s almost alarming to realize that fact, yet alone the lack of an electric guitar anywhere to be found. Beam carries the show completely on his shoulders with three major backing sections (vocals, strings and horns). It’s a tiny tour de force that shows just how much Beam has evolved in the past decade when the thought of him touring with even a drummer was sacrilege. The man and his music has become one of the most charming pieces of this century.