Picking the best McCabe's concert I've ever seen is mission impossible, but one thing is for sure: no other show was better than what I saw on March 14, 2010.
The concert sold out in minutes, it was a miracle that I managed to get two tickets. Initially, my better half was supposed to go with me, but a bad cold got in the way. Enter my young friend Ralph, a ticketless Swell Season fan, who could not hide his joy for his bit of good luck.
The McCabe's show was the first of two small-venue benefit concerts for Kenya's Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, a cause Glen Hansard had taken an interest in. Tickets cost $40, a real bargain.
I reached McCabe's at 5:30 PM, which - it turned out - wasn't early enough to be first in line: seven or eight people, obviously crazier than me, had already lined up for the privilege of getting in first. I was soon joined by Ralph and we had a great time chatting out there in the street.
|McCabe's window display - Swell Season poster|
|Glen & Marketa at McCabe's (March 14, 2010)|
Here's a live-in-studio version of "Into The Mystic", performed exactly the way we saw it at McCabe's:
A few songs in, Glen invited to the stage an acoustic guitar player from Spain, by the name of Javier Mas, who had toured the world with Leonard Cohen. Javier's virtuosity was a great addition to the show. All the while, Glen Hansard used one of the most beat-up guitars I had ever seen.
They played many songs from "Strict Joy", as well as their first, self-titled album. I liked "Paper Cup", "Falling Slowly" and most everything else they sang.
Watch the Swell Season in a powerful performance of "Low Rising", live on Dave Letterman:
|Glen Hansard's beat-up guitar|