Iron & Wine Leaves HUB Speechless With Emotional Show
Sam Beam, widely known as Iron & Wine, performed a free concert for students in Alumni Hall last night in a show presented by the Student Programming Association. Beam serenaded the audience with a mix of tracks off of his numerous albums. He conversed with the audience in between songs, and it was obvious how genuinely happy he was to be performing in Happy Valley. “Penn State is a beautiful campus,” said Beam. “It’s bigger than most states I’ve lived in.” He silenced a rowdy crowd with his first song “The Trapeze Swinger,” off of his album “Around the Well.” There was no underlying chatter like there usually is at shows; Alumni Hall was speechless as Iron & Wine performed “Boy With A Coin,” and “Rabbit Will Run.”
Beam didn’t have a fixed set list like most artists. After each song, he asked the audience for song suggestions and played whichever title he heard the most requested. Even after the end of a melancholy tune, Beam had the ability to make the crowd smile. Beam’s humorous and personable conversations with the audience left feeling like it knew him as an old friend.
He began “Lovers’ Revolution,” per request, only to stop after a few notes because he forgot the words. He tried again with a second failed attempt. “Have you ever had a dream,” asked Beam, “where you were in class with your pants around your ankles? That is me right now. I’ll try it one more time.” He played the song beautifully with much support from the audience.
The bushy-bearded singer performed, “The Backwater Birds,” a new song of his that was first played here at Penn State, which is my new personal favorite. Iron & Wine’s somber yet romantic tone complements his soothing voice perfectly. He occasionally tours with a full band, but tonight Penn State had the pleasure of hearing Beam sing acoustically.
Beam played a total of 15 short and very sweet songs. He ended the set with the classic “Such Great Heights,” which was the perfect way to end the show. “It’s so great to come to a place where you’ve never been to before,” said Beam, “and see a room full of smiling faces, so thank you.” Walking out of the show felt like a dream accompanied by the perfect lullaby.
Iron & Wine, which is mostly described as folk rock or indie folk, has been creating music for over a decade. With five albums and various EPs and singles under his belt, Beam’s next stops after State College are Spain, Portugal, and Turkey. In February 2015, Iron & Wine released a new studio album, “Archive Series: Volume 1,” which features unreleased songs recorded during the same period as “The Creek Drank the Cradle.”