Songbird creates perfect harmony
Folk singer-songwriter Dar Williams graced a packed Pickard Theater with an intimate performance last Friday. Flora Reed, an admitted "serious Dar fan for the past ten years," opened for the North Hampton, Massachusetts native. After Reed's five-song set, Williams came on stage in a sundress and sandals, and proceeded to give a fabulous informal performance.
The stripped-down concert consisted of only Williams and her guitar. At one point after forgetting the lyrics to "End of Summer," she admitted to not being able to practice a lot of the songs prior to coming to Bowdoin, having come right off tour and usually having a set playlist and a band to back her up.
Williams opened with "Fishing In the Morning" and then moved into a discussion about her song "Road Buddy."
She followed up with "If I Wrote You" and a witty discussion of heterosexuality and homosexuality that she began by simply saying, "I am straight." Williams related the story of a New York Times Magazine article accusing her of hiding her sexual orientation in order to profit off of the "all-mighty lesbian dollar." Williams admitted that she was in fact a member of the "breeder ring," having recently married, and said that she had never attempted to hide her heterosexuality.
Williams next played the poignant title track of her recent work, "The Beauty of the Rain."
Many of the introductions to songs included humorous and personal stories about college and the difficulties college students face. Williams included stories about road trips, depression, college roommates, "wealthy" students, and winter break. She even mentioned her last visit to Bowdoin, when she played on the Quad and was apparently interrupted by two naked students on bicycles. "I Had No Right" is an explanation of depression while "Fire and Soul" illuminates the annoyances of dealing with family during winter break. "The Christians and the Pagans," another song about winter holidays, was greeted with enthusiastic applause from the audience. The 11-song set was ended with "The Mercy of the Fallen," Williams's homage to her father and their joint passion for constellations.
The audience did not have to wait long for an encore, in which Williams
jokingly refused to play the songs called out for, saying it was "part
of her empowerment training" to play the song she had originally
planned. The song turned out to be "The Babysitter." However,
Williams then caved in and finished the fantastic concert with the classic
off of her Mortal City release, "As Cool As I Am."