Joanna Newsom

Living in a major Canadian city, one forgets what it’s like to be in love with an album for years before the opportunity comes to see it live. This was Joanna Newsom’s first trip to Montreal and by the time she played "Peach Plum Pear,” it almost seemed more familiar from seeing Final Fantasy cover it. This spellbinding set was a teary-eyed love-in where older songs met with rapturous applause at their first few notes; the audience was drunk on the mere image of seeing Newsom in the flesh. Seeing moths dance in the stage lights only affirmed any woodland fantasies set off by her medieval garb, or conjured during the solitary listening experiences that her music demands. Live, Newsom’s voice is much warmer, while her harp skills are surprisingly more pedestrian than on her records. Considering what she’s trying to pull off, it’s certainly more than excusable. Epic compositions from the forthcoming Ys were better absorbed here without the distractions of daily life. But really, she had us at "hello.”