Bailen, a New York City-based trio of siblings, kicked off the evening with a diverse selection of tunes from their album Thrilled To Be Here. Audience favourites included “Something Tells Me” and “I Was Wrong.” Those who didn’t make it in time to catch this incredible opening act were gifted an additional surprise performance midway through The Lone Bellow’s set. The three were welcomed back to the stage and gathered around a single mic to, once again, wow the crowd with their three-part harmonies.
All regrets about leaving the comforts of home on a cold mid-November night in Maine vanished as soon as The Lone Bellow hit the stage. They managed to showcase their remarkable range throughout their set by balancing slower, deeply emotional songs like “Dreaming” off their newest album, Love Songs for Losers, with wildly energetic ones such as “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold” off their 2013 debut album The Lone Bellow.
Vocalist/instrumentalist Kanene Donehey Pipkin enraptured the crowd with her outstanding performance of “Cost of Living.” It was impossible to avoid feeling empathetic as she sang of grief in the most relatable way. But before those feelings completely took over, we were immediately pulled from our sorrowful state to one of delight as frontman Zach Williams sang “Unicorn” – a lively love song that put a collective smile on all those lucky enough to hear it and feel the meaning behind it.
The band was so thoughtful as to take the time to wish Miguel and Tess, a recently engaged couple in attendance, a special congratulatory shout-out. And while they were the only two to be specifically called out by name, The Lone Bellow had such a genuinely thrilled-to-be-here-playing-for-you stage presence it would not have been unreasonable for every single person in attendance to feel like they were putting on the show specifically for them!
Much to everyone’s amusement, during the encore, a fan, after hearing enough notes to recognize the beginning of their favourite song, screamed out in utter delight at such a volume to cause Zach Williams to laugh so hard he had to restart the song. I cannot blame the audience member, though – I nearly squealed myself, having been waiting patiently for it all night. “Marietta” from their second album, Then Came the Morning, is an achingly beautiful song and hearing it performed live with such emotion was a memorable way to wrap up a truly remarkable show.
Following thunderous applause, the band members enthusiastically danced their way off the stage while “I wanna dance with somebody” played out to a thankful crowd. A group of guests lingered behind and took advantage of their jolly moods to finish what the band started and transformed the general admission pit area into their very own dance floor. My standards for live performances have been significantly raised.