For the final show of 2013 for the Live on Letterman series at the iconic Ed Sullivan Theater, they could not have found a better artist to close another memorable year. Oscar winner Glen Hansard, who was in town to promote his latest EP on The Late Show with David Letterman, stuck around and even had a few friends, his old band, The Frames, join him for one of the best gigs the series has ever put on.
Hansard, the tall Irish songwriter who has captured our hearts over the years, even was backed by a small string and brass ensemble that made this particular show even more special. In a near 90-minute set that included songs from his solo material, The Frames, The Swell Season and sprinkles of covers like Aretha Franklin's "Respect," The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York," and a full cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Drive All Night," Hansard had everyone eating out of the palm of his hand. Hansard's set is much like a Pixies song, it goes from rambunctious and loud to as quiet as a mouse, it is the basis of his song style and how he crafts his set list. Aside from being a brilliant lyricist and frontman, he is a fantastic storyteller. It is the Irish in him. In between songs he would talk about how the Irish celebrate Christmas and tried wrapping his head around America's political correctness of the term "Happy Holidays." While he would make jokes and tell funny stories, it was the heartfelt backstories of his songs that really had the audience wanting more. It was the origin stories for songs like "Song of Good Hope," and "Love Don't Leave Me Waiting," took on new meaning after hearing them live. After plowing through an extended version of Springsteen's "Drive All Night," and when everyone thought it was time to go home, Hansard did the song that made him an household name, "Falling Slowly." While his former bandmate, co-star, and girlfriend Markéta Irglová, was not there to sing co-vocal duties, Hansard managed to pull it through on his own and bring an epic night to a close. Hansard, who has not let his fame and fortune get to his head is still as humble as ever, which is why his career has had the longevity it has over the years and whatever project he is apart of is simply gold. Tonight's concert, which was broadcast online for all of the world to see, proved that.