Review: Indigo Girls Look Long Tour w/ Garrison Starr

A thunderstorm threatened to wash out the sold-out Indigo Girls show at Red Butte Garden on Monday, July 3, 2023. But, the brief shower didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the Indigo Girls’ impassioned, and largely female fanbase who packed the Garden. Swifties of a certain age.

Clear skies greeted the opening performer, Garrison Starr, who began her solo, acoustic, nine-song set with “Dam That’s Breaking,” then appropriately “Just a Little Rain.” She played her timely latest single, “Fireworks,” a slow burning tune she recorded with the Milk Carton Kids. The starting line “It’s almost the 4th of July, scary how quickly time goes by” fit perfectly in her set. 

Starr recently released a series of soulful singles from a forthcoming record, Garrison Starr and The Gospel Truth. On Monday night she played a spirited version of Claude Ely’s traditional gospel, “Ain’t No Grave.” The crowd erupted when Indigo Girl Emily Salier joined Starr on stage for “Hallelujah, Come Together,” a yet-to-be- released song they co-wrote. Starr ended her show with her stirring 2019 release “Better Day Comin’.” Starr is an accomplished songwriter with a powerful voice. I’d like to see her again with an accompanying band in an intimate venue like The State Room. She has a growing catalog of great songs that’s worth a listen.

The Indigo Girls, a Grammy-winning duo, grew to a septet for this performance. The 7-piece ensemble started their mammoth 23-song set with “Howl At The Moon,” a new song that fits perfectly within their long catalog of folk-rock favorites. Next came “Power of Two,” a crowd pleaser that turned into an impromptu singalong. Throughout the night you could hear a legion of adoring fans, in their “Emily and Amy” t-shirts, shout affirmations. The audience rose to their feet for energetic singalongs and then listened intently to quieter ballads. Their loving attention to the performers filled the Garden with a warm and welcoming vibe.

I enjoyed their run of songs that featured their eclectic sound. With “Shed Your Skin” they showed their rock ‘n’ roll chops then moved seamlessly to “Country Radio” before blending the two genres with a new song, “Shit Kickin’.” 

An energetic version of “Shame on You” got the crowd on their feet and singing. In a truly magical moment, the band departed the stage and left Amy Ray alone with her guitar for a captivating rendition of Dire Straits, “Romeo and Juliet.” Soon after, they cut loose with “Tether.” “Kid Fears” received collective approval and they then ramped up toward “Galileo,” the set finale. They encored with “Share The Moon” and Garrison Starr returned to the stage for a collective singing of “Closer To Fine.”

In addition to the duo’s two guitars and beautifully blended vocals, the accompanying band provided greater depth with a fiddle, bass, keyboards, drums, and an additional guitar. The natural acoustics at The Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre also aided in a joyous evening of great music. There’s no better way to spend a Monday night than a picnic in the Garden with the Indigo Girls and their spirited fans. 

Who: Indigo Girls w/ Garrison Starr

What: Long Look Tour

Where: Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre

When: July 3, 2023


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John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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