Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, who have unfortunately been relegated to an opening act for quite some time now, provided one of the more energetic opening sets I had seen for quite some time. Thao’s solo sets have been a bit tamer, however with a full band, she took control of the stage, and the crowd. Watching her set, it was safe to say that more of the audience sang along to her songs than Julien Baker’s. However, Thao does have a near 20 year catalog of songs in comparison, which means fans have had much longer to listen to and memorize the words to her songs. Thao’s originally scheduled 2020 tour did not contain a stop in Minneapolis.
Needless to say, this felt much more like a co-headliner, than an opener/headliner. Many people bought tickets just to see Thao alone, which was well worth the price of admission.
Baker’s full band sound is somewhat new to her audiences, but is welcome. The vast majority of the setlist included the fuller sounding songs off of Her latest release Little Oblivians. Julien, often timidly speaking into the microphone between songs, spoke about her complicated relationships with her songs. While many of her songs are deeply personal while still connecting with listeners, Her timidness in speaking to the audience, however, vanished when she played her music; The band often soaring to orcherestal levels of sound, on songs like Faith Healer, Sour Breath and Turn Out the Lights. Often a slow burn, her songs reached climatic heights throughout the night with the help of her band. Song in E focused on Baker’s solo voice and piano, and had the entirety of the audience honed in on her lyrics. Some fans seemed a little disspointed her setlist didnt contain any boygenius songs, from her ‘’supergroup’’ with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, however its likely those songs don’t work as well in a solo setting.
The encore songs, Everybody Does was a little more upbeat, and Appointments seemed to be the loudest singalong song from the crowd. “Maybe it’s all gonna turn out alrightOh, I know that it’s not, but I have to believe that it is” Baker’s fanbase seems to accept the same fate of the false optimism Baker’s lyrics evoke, and have long looked forward to asking the same questions she does in her songs, together. To many, these songs were what helped get them through the pandemic, and the opportunity to sing them along with the artist in person was as therapeutic as it can get.