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5 Takeaways from The Avett Brothers’ New Year’s Eve Show

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Scott Avett performs on the piano at The Avett Brothers’ New Year’s Eve show at Bojangles Coliseum. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

In what has become an annual tradition, Concord natives The Avett Brothers have taken to performing a New Year’s Eve concert somewhere in North Carolina. About every four years or so, it returns to Charlotte. It was only fitting that this year’s edition — their first live NYE concert in three years after having canceled the Greensboro show altogether in 2021 due to COVID concerns — took place close to home.

Bojangles Coliseum was packed full of people ready to celebrate the end of 2022 as much as they were ready to enjoy a night full of music. Of course, the band didn’t disappoint. Here’s a few takeaways: 

 

1. The Avett Brothers are now a well-oiled machine. Sure, it’s been that way for quite some time, but the full band — Scott and Seth Avett, bassist Bob Crawford, cellist Joe Kwon, fiddle player Tania Elizabeth, piano player Bonnie Avett-Rini, and drummer Mike Marsh — hits all the right notes every time. From by-the-album singing and instrumentation to those spur-of-the-moment key changes in vocals or preacher-like call-outs in the middle of a song, the group has mastered the art of the live show. It even shined through in the setlist, as they played an instrumental version of “Ain’t No Man” to start the show, only to close the regular setlist with the full version, bringing the entire performance full circle. 

Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers sings into a microphone with a guitar strapped around his shoulder
Seth Avett sings at The Avett Brothers’ New Year’s Eve show at Bojangles Coliseum. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
 
2. They’re not afraid spotlight the locals. The Avett Brothers have put the spotlight on a number of local artists at performances around the world (see any of their David Childers covers, for example), and this year’s concert was no different. Toward the end of the night, the Avetts welcomed Charlotte horn player Adrian Crutchfield out to put his stamp on a few songs, including covers of “Stay” and “Stand by Me.” Crutchfied, who earlier in December played a reunion show with the Charlotte band Lucky Five, is also a former member of Prince’s touring outfit. So it’s no surprise that his horn playing offered the right breaths of life and character to every song he played on. Not local to Charlotte, another North Carolina artist opened the show, as Valient Thorr of Greenville brought their brand of hard rock to the stage for a full hour. 
 
 
3. The band always goes back to their roots. As usual, The Avett Brothers welcomed father Jim out to the stage to perform one song with the band: the hymn “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” Scott joked with the crowd, “We taught him everything he knows.” One can only imagine the pride Jim has in his kids — but he’s also a fine singer/songwriter on his own who regularly plays gigs around the Charlotte area. The Avetts also found time to go back to their roots by performing as a trio — spotlighting the band’s origins. Hard to believe how far they’ve come, and how much they’ve changed (and stayed the same) in the last 15 years. 
 
The Avett Brothers partially silhouetted onstage with a light show happening behind them.
The Avett Brothers perform at Bojangles Coliseum on New Year’s Eve. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
 
4. The Avetts have become icons in their own right. Having had music in TV shows, movies and commercials, the band has gotten to the point where their setlist plays like a greatest hits album with a few rarities thrown in for good measure. “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” “Kick Drum Heart,” “I and Love and You,” “The Ballad of Love and Hate,” “Satan Pulls the Strings,” “Morning Song,” “Live and Die,” “Laundry Room,” “Distraction #74,” “Slight Figure of Speech”… the list goes on. It’s hard to pick which one had the biggest sing along. 
 
The Avett Brothers partially silhouetted onstage.
The Avett Brothers perform at Bojangles Coliseum on New Year’s Eve. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)
 
5. Don’t be sad if you missed it. While any concert is a great way to ring in the new year, there are undoubtedly fans who weren’t able to attend Saturday night’s show. Have no fear — the Avett Brothers will be headlining Merlefest at Wilkes Community College in the spring. If you can’t make it there, I’m sure they’ll be back in town soon enough. 
 
 
Setlist
Ain’t No Man (Instrumental)

High Steppin’
Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
Vanity
Kick Drum Heart
Geraldine
The Ballad of Love and Hate
Satan Pulls the Strings
Live and Die
Morning Song
Laundry Room
Old Joe Clark
Go to Sleep
Distraction #74
Will You Return?
Backwards With Time
I Wish I Was
Le reel du pendu / Les bars de la prison
Locked Up
Rejects in the Attic
The Fall
I and Love and You
Just a Closer Walk With Thee
Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)
Murder in the City
Slight Figure of Speech>
Auld lang syne>
Slight Figure of Speech
Stay
Stand by Me
Ain’t No Man
 
Encore
Talk on Indolence
No Hard Feelings
 

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