Iron and Wine performed at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall on Saturday, March 1. The sold-out show drew people from all over the area, and the large venue was packed from stage to door. This is easily one of the best turnouts I have seen in recent months for a local show, and even before the concert was scheduled to start, attendees eager to see Samuel Beam, better known as Iron and Wine, and his glorious beard filled the venue.
This was my first time at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, so I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the concert and piled into the long line of cars funnelling into the venue’s grass parking lot. From the outside, the concert hall seemed like a cool place, but when I stepped inside I couldn’t believe I had never visited the venue before. I was quickly introduced to the staff, who were extremely friendly and helpful, grabbed a $13 cup of Jameson on the rocks, and pushed my way into the crowd of people with my camera raised above my head. (Excuse me, pardon me, sorry, excuse me, sorry I’m working, hey can I get by you?)
Jessica, or “Jesca,” Hoop was the first act to go on, and though I had never heard of her before, I quickly became drawn in by her simple, yet alluring musical style. Hoop was the only opener for Iron and Wine, but did an excellent job performing for the sold-out crowd, which had already filled the venue in its entirety by the time she began her set. Hoop interacted with the crowd extremely well, and kept attendees entertained while she tuned her guitar between songs with quirky stories about how she got her mom to start smoking weed and jokes about how well-behaved the Jacksonville crowd was.
After Hoop finished her set around 9 p.m., Iron and Wine was up next, and the concert hall eagerly awaited Beam to begin his performance. As he walked out onto the stage, the venue came alive and cheered for the man they’d all been waiting for. The set was intimate, a man and his guitar. Beam’s gentle melodic voice and his intricate guitar picking were spot on with the venue’s beautiful sound and personal setting. As I watched Beam from the swarm of people, I felt as though everyone around me melted away and I was watching a private performance.
Fans at the show were treated to an extensive collection of Beam’s songs, ranging from favorites like “Boy With a Coin” to “Sodom, South Georgia” to “Flightless Bird.” Hoop was not the only performer who interacted with the crowd so effortlessly. Beam was even nice enough to take requests, but as several people began to shout out inaudible songs, he soon realized that was a poor decision, even dubbing it the “Iron and Wine Buffet.” At one point, Beam began to get a little fancy with his picking, “Take that Eddie Van Halen. He don’t stand a chance!” Beam said. When he did miss a note a few times, he paused and said, “If I f*ck this up, it’s y’alls fault.” The crowd laughed alongside Beam as he continued to joke with fans throughout the night.
Towards the end of his set, Beam brought out Hoop and the two played a couple of songs together before she exited the stage again and Beam finished out his set with one more song…and an encore of course.