The last time I saw someone try to take on the whole three thousand-capacity Fox Theater alone with an acoustic guitar was nearly a year ago, when Robin Pecknold unplugged his dreadnought and stepped over his monitors to belt out a solo tune. At the time, it was impressive, and that youthful tenor rippled off the sparkling, chameleon ceilings and lavish rugs. It seemed incomparably pretty.
Last night, Jeff Mangum made Pecknold’s performance, in retrospect, look like a gaunt and admirable attempt, at best. It’s not so much that the Fleet Foxes frontman is pale in musicality, as much as that Jeff Mangum is just an impeccably well-oiled, trim, and efficient music-producing mechanism. His show last night was a rare thing today – a guy who’s willing to sit in front of thousands of people with a guitar. When you think about it that’s a frightening prospect, and it’s hard to think of many musicians who would choose to do so if given the option.