St. Vincent Brings Daddy’s Home Tour To New Haven

Annie Clark is performing in support of the new St. Vincent album, 'Daddy's Home.'

By Bryan Lasky Oct 18, 2021 9:35 am PDT

St. Vincent‘s current tour, which played the most intimate room of the tour at College Street Music Hall, in New Haven Connecticut this past Friday, is her most theatrical yet. Annie Clark has always had elements of theater in St. Vincent performances, whether it was stage diving every night or choreography with David Byrne or being a one-woman show, she has made sure fans get a sense of being at an event. Her Daddy’s Home Tour takes it to the next level.

The first part of the theatrical show was at the beginning when a doppelganger emerged to dance with the backup singers before St. Vincent took the stage. Unfortunately at College Street Music Hall, we missed part of the theatrics as the rotating stage was not functioning, but it didn’t take much away from the show.

Once the “double” left, the band went for the throat immediately with “Digital Witness,” “Down” and “Birth In Reverse.” This threesome set the tone for the night and showed that the band on this tour can instantly switch from being funky to completely rocking out. St. Vincent has not released a live album yet, but if that were going to happen, this would be the band to do it with.

There were interludes sprinkled throughout the set, such as a joke before “Daddy’s Home,” a server coming around the stage with drinks for the band, a few toasts taking place after “New York” and a phone call after “…At the Holiday Party.” These did not feel like set pieces and truly came across as organic, in-the-moment happenings, which few are able to so effortlessly pull off.

The embodying of Daddy’s Home on the road feels like this could be Clark’s Diamond Dogs: slightly over the top silliness with a setlist that showcases the new album perfectly. Daddy’s Home didn’t get the best reviews when it came out, but hearing them side by side with some of Clark’s best-known work, the new songs shine. “Down and Out Downtown” has that perfect 1970s shine to lead into the piano pop of “New York.”

Clark’s voice and pedal steel work on “Pay Your Way In” left my jaw on the floor. The backup singers — Nayanna Holley, Danielle Withers and Stevvi Alexander — were part of the theater experience as they mingled around with one another and the band in the background of songs, bringing such richness as they harmonized with each other and Clark. Their voices also brought new layers to older songs as well.

The band went nuclear to end the set with the hardest “Cheerleader” I’ve encountered, followed by “Fear the Future.” To see both songs move into these behemoths from previous versions played live was wild to witness. The songs were always heavy, but the quartet of Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Mark Guiliana, Jason Falkner and Rachel Eckroth, took them to a new level.

There was speculation, due to her television appearances early in the album cycle, that Clark might not play as much guitar on this tour. Fans should not worry about that at all. Whenever she had one of her many guitars in her hand, which was more often than not, Clark shredded as usual. Watching her effortlessly play the guitar is always a joy.

The encore began with Marry Me‘s “Your Lips Are Red,” which allowed the band to let loose one last time before the night ended with two quieter songs off of Daddy’s Home. It’s a bold move to close a concert on new songs, but it worked as the calm after the storm to send everyone home. “Living in the Dream” played like the end of a psychedelic trip, especially with the singers moving in slow motion all over the stage as Clark sang above them. The show ended with a cathartic “The Melting of the Sun” that had everyone singing together by the end.

It’s great when an artist puts on a true show. So many bands just stand there and play, and while that can also be great, sometimes you just want to see more. A St. Vincent show is always more than that and I’m going to assume whatever character and story she decides to tell next, a new and probably even bigger production is going to follow.


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Patrick Garriepy
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Setlist

St. Vincent at College Street Music Hall

  • Digital Witness
  • Down
  • Birth in Reverse
  • Daddy’s Home
  • Down and Out Downtown
  • New York
  • ...At the Holiday Party
  • Los Ageless
  • Sugarboy
  • Fast Slow Disco
  • Pay Your Way in Pain
  • My Baby Wants a Baby
  • Cheerleader
  • Fear the Future
Encore
  • Your Lips Are Red
  • Live in the Dream
  • The Melting of the Sun
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