Gillian Welch started the show off by joking, “So you are the thousand fastest people in Asheville, huh?”
And some of the luckiest people in Asheville to see an intimate performance with Gillian Welch and her musical partner, David Rawlings. They stood close together, center stage, with just a small table behind them. They didn’t need amps or a fancy stage set-up to captivate the sold-out crowd, who were attentive and polite with just a favorite song title shouted out here and there.
“You know what they say in conditions like this,” Welch joked again, “keep drinking liquor.” Welch treated her fans to almost three hours of music despite the sweltering heat inside the Orange Peel. The first set was rounded out by “Look at Miss Ohio” off her 2003 album Soul Journey. Fans have had to wait eight years for her next album, The Harrow & The Harvest, which came out in late June. She played every song off her new album interspersed with some older favorites during the two sets and two encores. Welch and Rawlings wrapped up the evening by playing “I’ll Fly Away,” a 1929 hymn that was made popular by Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss on the O Brother Where Art Though? soundtrack.
Coincidentally, Alison Krauss and Union Station will be in town next Friday performing at The Biltmore, but that is sold-out as well. If you want to see Gillian Welch though, she encouraged the crowd to come up to Boone later this month, “It’s not that far away.”