Braving dark, threatening skies, the Indigo Girls brought a little bit of folk, a little bit of blues and a lot of storytelling to Wolf Mountain.
When Emily Saliers and Amy Ray walked out to meet the audience of about 7,500, the stage was bare. Sure, there were a couple of microphones pushed up against tiny guitar amplifiers and a couple more mikes standing center stage. But that was it, and it was enough.Taking songs from their five studio releases, the Indigos let their voices be heard in a simple, two-hour acoustical set that featured new gems and old favorites mixed with a few surprises.
The girls accompanied themselves with an array of various acoustic guitars that brought out subtle differences in sound and tone. Saliers' higher voice combined with Ray's lower voice and made crisp, sweet harmonies and emotional statements in the night air.
Offering such staple hits as "Power of Two," "Joking" and "10,000 Wars," the Indigos scooped the audience members into their vast musical palms and had them singing and dancing in their seats. In every song, Saliers' casually picked acoustic solos were backed by Ray's sharp rhythms. Together, they offered dynamic interludes and heart-wrenching anecdotes.
One such example was found in the hit "Ghost" from the Indigo's 1992 album "Rites of Passage." Saliers' lonesome vocal intro to the song brought cheers from the audience. Another crowd favorite was "The Prince of Darkness," a song telling of a young woman's yearning for escape from the tragedy of a lost reality.
The Indigos threw out a fresh surprise by asking longtime friend and mentor Caroline Akin out for a nice bluesy jam of "White House Blues." After switching leads during the verses, the singers mixed their voices in a savory three-part harmony chorus.
"This Train (Revised)" from the album "Swamp Ophelia" served as the bridge connecting Akin's blues to the Indigos' folk. The Cajun-influenced sound set the mood as wandering psychedelic spotlight images panned the audience.
The song allowed guests from opening band Big Fish Ensemble to join the Indigos on stage. Michael Laurette sang harmony while patting a tambourine, and Sheena Doyle pulled a bow across her electric violin.
Another new song "Mystery," written by Saliers, once again featured the Indigos sweet harmony. The solemn, Eastern influenced "Chicken Man" finished the set.
The encore mix featured both Big Fish Ensemble and Akin and was received well by the audience. It included a favorite - "Hammer and Nail."
The Indigo Girls camaraderie was felt throughout the night. The women, it seemed, were there giving a personalize performance for each and every member of the audience. To top that, it didn't rain all night.
Atlanta's Big Fish Ensemble opened the evening with its own brand of folk rock. Clean vocal harmonies and snappy arrangements made for an energetic, if not enjoyable show.
The band casually took the stage, introduced itself and set out on a 45-minute set of serious music with silly titles.
"I Hate Parties," "I Drank Too Much Last Night" and "Lots of Liquor to Liven Us Back Up Again" were only a few of the interesting titles offered. The band played well and primed the crowd for the Indigo Girls.