The Avett Brothers kicked off their show in Santa Barbara precisely at 8 p.m. with the punchy track “Go to Sleep,” during which no one in the audience slept. In fact, no one in the audience sat down for the first half of Tuesday night’s performance. The show itself was foot-stomping, playful, and loud — something you would expect to see at the Santa Barbara Bowl before the Arlington Theatre. Fans continued streaming in through the first few songs, many of whom wore homemade Avett Brothers T-shirts to commemorate the event. Even the concertgoers who didn’t make their own merch clapped and sang along to every song.
But the band was not to be bested in enthusiasm by their audience. Each member onstage — actual brothers Scott and Seth Avett, along with bassist Bob Crawford, cellist Joe Kwon, keyboardist Paul Defiglia, drummer Mike Marsh, and violinist Tania Elizabeth — was given his or her own solo during the band’s two-hour-long set. Kwon jammed so hard the strings of his bow were shredding by the end of the second song. The high-spirited dynamic between Kwon and Elizabeth was a sight to behold in itself, as were the impassioned vocal harmonies of Scott and Seth Avett.
By the start of the group’s acoustic folk ballad “Shame,” fans had settled into their seats, singing along with the band as they crooned. The Avett Brothers later settled into an all-acoustic set where Scott delivered a powerfully emotional rendition of the ballad “Murder in the City.”
The band finished their 24-song set list with their most famous song, “I and Love and You,” during which fans ignored any seating arrangements the theater had once given them in favor of crowding around the stage and waving their arms and bodies in time with the music.