Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit Celebrate a Special Anniversary in Brooklyn

February 11, 2018 by

The third anniversary of the reopening of Brooklyn’s historic Kings Theatre in the heart of Flatbush was an especially memorable one on the night of February 3, 2018. That’s because Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit played a spectacular two-hour set to a sold out throng, who also enjoyed opener James McMurtry.

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James McMurtry and bandmates / photo by Kyra Kverno

McMurtry’s unique brand of Americana music was enthusiastically received, especially when he and his bandmates did “You Got To Me,” from his Complicated Game album, which resonated with the subway crowd.

Isbell and his 400 Unit are in the early stages of what is turning out to be a year-long tour to support his Grammy-winning album, The Nashville Sound, and he expressed his exuberance at being back in Brooklyn. Indeed, he looked around the venue and remarked how “beautiful this theatre is,” just after “Hope the High Road” and then said, “I’m having fun here.”

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Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires / photo by Kyra Kverno

His 19-song performance featured a plethora of Isbell trademark songs, including “24 Frames,” “Super 8” and “If We Were Vampires.” Isbell shared an intimate story about “Cover Me Up,” which he wrote for Amanda Shires, before their marriage. Both Shires and Isbell then performed a poignant and emotionally charged acoustic duet of what has become a staple on this tour’s set list.

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Sadler Vaden Looks on at Jason Isbell / photo by Kyra Kverno

Amanda Shires’ electric fiddle prowess rounded out the sound on “Alabama Pines” and “Codeine,” which also featured a generous helping of Derry DeBorja’s accordion fills, with some deft slide guitar riffs from Sadler Vaden. Isbell’s solo guitar talents were on full display on the Drive-By Truckers’ “Never Gonna Change,” as was drummer Chad Gambles’ percussion talents and Jimbo Hart’s superb bass lines.

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, the 3,000 fans, and the perfect acoustics and ambience of the stately Kings Theatre, all combined to make this third anniversary show a night to remember.