Josh Ritter at Thalia Hall 9/26/2016

Last night Josh Ritter stopped in Chicago for his second headlining date of the year in support of his album Sermon On The Rocks. The first show was at the very cavernous and not-so-great-sounding Riviera, and this concert was at the much-preferred Thalia Hall, with it’s fantastic sound system and intimate atmosphere. The diehards made it out despite the double whammy of the Presidential debate between future Commander-In-Chief Hilary Clinton and some schmuck who thinks saying “Women-you gotta treat ’em like shit” is an okay thing to do, and also a high-profile Monday Night Football game. Well, after looking at the score and watching the debate on DVR, going to the show was definitely the Right Move(s).

The setlist was pretty fun-straying away from the most recent album quite a bit to play some classics. He still played plenty of tracks from Sermon On The Rocks, including “Henrietta, Indiana,” “Where The Night Goes,” and “Getting Ready To Get Down,” but he also played a lot of fan favorites, kicking the show off with “Monster Ballads”  and “Me & Jiggs” from Animal Years and Golden Age Of Radio. There were a couple brand new songs thrown in as well, which sounded good.

The band was a little different this time around-no Sam Kassirer on keys (no keys at all), no Josh Kaufman on guitar (replaced by Marty something who could really wail), and no Liam Hurley on drums (Ray Rizzo subs while Liam is caring for his new baby). Zachariah Hickman was on bass, of course, but played the stand-up version for the whole evening. The songs had more of a country vibe with this arrangement, which I imagine has something to do with the upcoming dates opening for Jason Isbell. It was a nice change of pace, though, and I enjoyed these versions thoroughly.

I didn’t write down the setlist, and there hasn’t been an update made to Setlist.FM yet, so here’s how I remember it…very likely it’s wrong:

Monster Ballads, Me & Jiggs, Cry Softly, Henrietta Indiana, Long Shadows, Bonfire, A Certain Light, Young Moses, Right Moves, Myrna Loy (In The Darkness), Snow Is Gone (solo), Girl In The War, Wolves, Cumberland, Where The Night Goes, Folk Bloodbath, Getting Ready To Get Down, Kathleen ENCORE: New Song, Lillian, Egypt