Words by Jeff Marsala
Photos by Luke Awtry Photography
There were no Super Bowl hangovers at Burlington’s Higher Ground Ballroom last night. Or if there were, the Wood Brothers quickly provided a cure with their soulful harmonies, delightful arrangements and contagious energy.
The crowd was dancing all night as the Wood Brothers displayed their virtuosity, busting out crowd favorites like “Green & Blue,” “Postcards from Hell” & “Wastin’ My Mind.” The T Sisters, who opened the show, joined them for a couple songs for the acoustic portion of the show, during which the band unplugs from their respective amplification devices and reverts to the old-timey single mic strategy.
The unquestioned highlight of the night came at the encore. After a phenomenal 75+ minute show, the band left the stage. As the crowd erupted and begged for an encore, percussionist Jano Rix (although that doesn’t due him justice– he’s a musical mastermind) returned to the dark stage and began to delicately play his keyboard. The improvisation transformed into the beginning notes of the hit “Luckiest Man” and the Brothers returned to the stage. Oliver ask the crowd to help them out with the chorus. He didn’t really have to ask though. It was a given.
The show could have very well ended with that heartfelt, collaborative rendition of “Luckiest Man,” but it didn’t. The energy was paplable and it was clear that even on the Monday after the Super Bowl, no one was ready to leave. The band took a look around, strapped back on their instruments and said “here’s a one off our newest record.” And just like that they hopped into The Band’s “Ophelia.” The sold out crowd at Higher Ground lost it. A fantastic send off for a fantastic evening.
It’s shows like this that remind us the healing power of music. Sometimes, the best cure is a great song about heartbreak.