“I went to The Wild Hearts Tour and all I got was emotional” is one of the best pieces of merch I’ve ever seen. While I took a lot more away from the night than a tote bag, I was filled with emotions and genuine connection that only comes from the best artists in their happiest mindsets. Sharon Van Etten described it as “summer camp vibes.”
The Wild Hearts Tour was everything I had hoped for. Gorgeous weather, wonderful fans, and some of the best artists in the business. This is one that I have been looking forward to since its announcement. Julien Baker, Angel Olsen, and Sharon Van Etten in ONE night?! Let’s just say tickets were purchased on presale. I had seen them all separately multiple times, but there was energy with these three on one bill that had me ecstatic.
Julien Baker started the evening off with a crescendo of a set. It made my eyes a little misty to see her take the stage with her four bandmates. The band crafts a backing that lifts her powerful vocals and fits so incredibly naturally with her lyrics and style. I’ve seen her with and without this, and I have to say I just love what they add to the performance. She didn’t address the crowd much, and she didn’t need to. She let her performance speak for her.
Her demeanor seemed light and completely on the same level as the audience. It was clear that so many of them were there just for her. One front and center audience member was so dedicated to seeing her set that they FAINTED and made it back by the time Baker took the stage. She’s always been a big deal here in Minnesota. I heard so many audience members recalling seeing her playing tiny shows and being amazed when this shy 5ft musician opened her mouth to reveal her huge voice.
Angel Olsen took the stage as the sun was at its most golden, and it felt so fitting. She is someone that I’ve made a point to see as much as possible. I’ve always loved her albums on release and never slept on a show when I could help it. I love the vintage spin on her vocals and her musical style. Without Spector involvement, she’s got the “wall of sound” down in her own way. There’s always been a restlessness hidden in her music that I can never put my finger on. With her new album Big Time, it seems that she’s found her way home. I’ve never seen her seem so comfortable on stage with her full brightly dressed band – including a trio of orchestral musicians.
Donning a bright yellow jumpsuit and peach-colored sunglasses, she smiled through her set almost as much as I did. Her old songs sounded right at home next to new ones like “All The Good Times” and “Big Time.” Like Baker, I think that she’s one that I’ve seen grow so much over the years. I’m truly just so happy that she was part of this bill. The audience devoured her uninhibited stage talk and laughed along with her when she walked them through her relationship anecdotes between songs. Truly the most fun I’ve had seeing her.
Sharon Van Etten was the last to take the stage as the sun set over Surly Festival Field. While Olsen and Baker were calmer, she came out with fire in her eyes to perform “Headspace.” Her energy was stunning. This new body of work on We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong has felt like a deeper continuation of 2019’s Remind Me Tomorrow that we had all been hoping for and waiting to see live.
Van Etten’s message on stage was one of determination and love. She proved to us again how much of an incredible artist she is under bursts of colored light. She made sure to shout out her band multiple times, once to reiterate how much different the set would sound without them. She’s right. Her newer work involves a lot of experimental soundscapes that were built into this beautiful set. One highlight for me was her revamped fast-paced version of “Every Time the Sun Comes Up.”
The night ended with Van Etten bringing Olsen back out to perform the most anticipated song of the tour – “Like I Used To” – their 2021 collaboration. They hugged and smiled as the set ended, and Olsen threw flowers out to the crowd to take home.
I walked back to my car surrounded by happy fans clutching these flowers and raving about the night. While each set felt like it could have been a lot longer, it also felt just right to me. If The Wild Hearts Tour is coming to your city, please don’t second guess checking it out!