Dar Williams at South ParkI'd forgotten how much I love Dar Williams's music, despite listening to Mortal City incessantly in 1999 and 2000. Last night she reminded me why. Her energy, chord progressions, quirky and insightful lyrics, and nonpareil voice entranced a lawn full of fans at the South Park Amphitheater, a half-hour drive from Pittsburgh proper. Despite signs proscribing bottles and animals, the crowd was merrily imbibing wine and full of tuckered-out dogs. And a gaggle of little girls danced gaily in front of the stage.
Dar played nearly all of my favorites, and told back stories for many of them, including her experiences in Christian summer camp leading to "Teen for God" and the normative androgyny of the 70s, in which both men and women sported Dorothy Hamill haircuts leading to "When I was a Boy." One of the quieter ones I didn't recognize made me cry. She ended the concert lamenting that no one waves lighters anymore (because we've all given up smoking), but requested that we wave our "symbols of interdependence in the 21st century." Soon hundreds of illuminated blue screens unfolded in our palms.