The opening act for the Eddie Vedder solo show at Beacon Theatre deserves a nod. Glen Hansard is one half of the Irish duo The Swell Season (with classically trained Czech pianist and vocalist Marketa Irglova) as well as a vocalist for the Irish group The Frames. Hansard and Irglova won an Academy Award in 2007 for Best Original Song for their tune “Falling Slowly” from the film “Once.” Hansard has also acted in “Once” and the film “The Commitments.”
Music is his beat though and Hansard is a performer and has been from a very young age. Hansard has a very good impression that the people in the audience were not here to see him specifically so he was very gracious with those kind enough to come in and give him a respectful listen.
One of the first songs Hansard came out with was the Van Morrison cover “To Be Born Again.” As the video-camera toting crowd has been aware apparently; Glen Hansard’s cover of this song is found all over the internet including this version from December 4, 2009 in St Louis.
A definitely identifiable trait of Hansard during his own set (not so much when he came on later with Vedder to perform) was that he looked a little crazy at times. There were certainly moments when he had so lost himself in the music that some other presence had “taken over.” His head moved and his body gyrated with an insane energy that was appealing and frightening.
For some of his truncated set, Hansard broke out with some very effortless and excellent finger-picking. Some of his playing; like the Van Morrison cover; were loud and violent and fast open chords, dissonance, and insane hollering.
For the Pearl Jam fans his last song was a song of love lost. He introduced it as a song for that “wonderful, tender moment when you realize…it’s over.” His homage was towards the end of the song when he was doing some of his violent chords and howling dissonant screaming. Quoting the Pearl Jam song “Smile” Hansard belted out “I miss you already; I miss you always!”
This was perhaps the perfect way for Hansard to go out on a high note. He had gotten the crowd charged and ready for Eddie Vedder. Hansard came out again later on for a number of songs with Vedder. He sang a little bit of backup vocals, played guitar, and notably bass. His personage was so much more relaxed and affable looking when he was not the spotlight.