Things you will hear at a She & Him concert: “I love you Zooey!”, “Zooey, you’re beautiful!” and the occasional, “Woo, M. Ward.” On their final stop of their North American tour, She & Him played to a sea of adoring Vancouver fans. They included girls dressed just like Zooey Deschanel and guys hoping to date her.
Sisters, Lily and Abigail Chapin, were the openers and they played a set of simple folky-popsongs. The Chapin Sisters are also the back up singers for She & Him, so you can get a sense of how easily they can harmonize and complement each other’s vocals. They seemed very serious and intense until they played their acoustic cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” It’s probably more gimmicky than anything else, but still entertaining. Zooey Deschanel joined them on stage for the last two songs and that was probably the most exciting part.
She & Him, plus the backing band, wasted no time getting into the bubbly tune, “I Was Made For You.” Immediately, enthusiastic foot tapping ensued. Rather early in the set, She & Him played, “Thieves.” It’s a personal favourite and I was surprised that they treated it more like a filler. Zooey Deschanel’s distinct voice, which sounds so wonderful on the studio version of the song, hadn’t quite warmed up yet. M. Ward however, had no problem delving into his decorative guitar solos. I’ll admit, I was probably one of the few people who was more stoked to see the “Him” portion of She & Him. But, anyone can tell you that M. Ward is a seasoned musician and he is mesmerizing to watch as he plays his guitar with such ease and style. It was on the heartfelt ballad, “Take It Back” where Deschanel’s voice really wooed me. Her voice had definitely warmed up by then. She had that beautiful and nostalgic tone, where you get hints of legends like, Ella Fitzgerald or Patsy Cline.
The highlight of the show was when it was simply Deschanel and M. Ward on stage. They treated the crowd to a couple of covers which included their sensual rendition of, “You Really Got a Hold On Me.” M. Ward got to show off his deep, velvety voice, which people sometimes forget is distinguished in its own right. That vocal exchange during the call back was the best chemistry Deschanel and Ward had the entire night.
The backing band had returned, and for “In the Sun,” the audience was invited to dance and sing along. Everyone was itching to jump up and down. So, as it usually goes at the Orpheum, the audience quickly flooded to the front of the stage. The show definitely took a turn and became an upbeat dance fest. During the encore, all the songs were covers and they ended with “I Put A Spell On You.” Deschanel belted it out and pushed her voice as far is it could go. The stripped down, bolt busting cover, forced the cheering crowd to do one thing: continue with the “I love you Zooey!” and “You’re amazing!” comments. One girl in particular, who was just blown away by the strength of Deschanel’s voice, exclaimed, “Wow! That was FAN-tastic!” It was indeed.