June 13, 2011
Largo, Los Angeles
Sometimes seeing a live show is like having amazing sex – when it’s so good you start to worry, “what if it’s never this good again??” During The Civil Wars show at Largo last night I was overwhelmed with immense joy and a bit of fear that the next shows I’m lined up to see may disappoint in comparison. The Civil Wars’ show at Largo last night was the best sex I’ve had all year.
Joy Williams and John Paul “JP” White are The Civil Wars. I could not have had higher expectations for them to exceed and they exceeded them. JP plays guitar. From time to time Joy plays piano. Their voices are exquisite. Their songwriting is beautiful. They’re playful. They’re funny. They surprise each other and they’ll surprise you.
Williams and White met approximately 3 years ago “at a random song-writing gathering” that neither of them wanted to attend. Prior to becoming The Civil Wars, both Williams and White had solo careers and worked extensively writing songs for other artists. Following their initial meeting and writing session, they joined forces as The Civil Wars and have sold more than 100,000 copies of their debut album, Barton Hollow, in 4 months, without a major label.
When you hear The Civil Wars’ songs and see them together, a sense of peace and extreme happiness wash over you – you are reminded that everything is as it should be. You remember that sometimes, when we let go of an idea we held onto so steadfastly, we’re liberated to experience something even better than we could have imagined. You stop worrying about time and pre-conceived notions of how things “should” be. The Civil Wars are a sublime reflection that there’s nothing to worry about. When you see Williams and White perform together, you know it had to be this way. You begin to feel more faith and comfort, realizing that everything you envision for yourself will come in time as well.
I was fortunate to see The Civil Wars perform at Largo, one of my favorite venues in Los Angeles. Largo has a strictly enforced “no talking, no texting, no photographing, no cell phone” policy that leaves the audience no choice but to get lost in the music. The sound in the theatre is amazing and the elegant stage the perfect setting for this show.
When The Civil Wars left the stage, the audience gave them the most heartfelt and unified standing ovation I’ve experienced in a long time. Knowing that The Civil Wars were coming back for an encore didn’t mean the crowd sat down and waited. We were on our feet, applauding, until Williams and White returned, reminded that even if something is a “given,” it’s not to be taken for granted.