It’s a testament to the Avett Brothers that, for the second show of its two-night stand at the Fox Theatre, only a few of its songs were repeats from the night before.
And it’s a testament to the North Carolina band’s faithful fans that both shows were sold out. It seems likely that some — perhaps many — were in attendance both nights.
The Avetts are no stranger to multi-night gigs in St. Louis. In 2014 they filled the Peabody (now the Stifel) for three nights. Since then, they’ve played bigger one-nighters here, including LouFest in 2015 and Chaifetz Arena in 2016 and ’17.
“This is truly home for us,” Scott Avett said just before the end of Saturday’s show.
For the previous two hours, he and his brother Seth, their bandmates Bob Crawford (bass) and Joe Kwon (cello), plus touring musicians Mike Marsh on drums and sister Bonnie Avett-Rini on piano dug deep into the band’s catalog and also previewed songs from its forthcoming release, “Closer Than Together,” due Oct. 4.
“So get your compact disc players ready,” Seth joked before performing “C-Sections and Railway Trestles,” a humorous and heartfelt reflection on the birth of his son. The song has been around for a couple of years but is apparently slated for the new album. Another song that may be included, “High Steppin,” in which Seth delivers a monologue about hard times but ultimately concludes “there’s hope for sure,” kicked off the encore.
The show also featured the thus-far-uncollected recent singles “Trouble Letting Go” and “Neapolitan Sky.”
Elsewhere, the brothers — Seth on guitar and piano, Scott on banjo, guitar and piano — traded lead vocals and harmonized through songs reaching as far back as “November Blue” from 2002’s “Country Was” and “I Killed Sally’s Lover” from 2003’s “A Carolina Jubilee.” “The D Bag Rag,” an instrumental that’s also from “Carolina,” opened the show and found the band members honking on kazoos.
The group showed its range, moving seamlessly through bluegrass, country, folk, pop and rock numbers. Among the highlights were delicate, spare takes on “Salina” and “I and Love and You” and rocking, high-energy versions of “Kick Drum Heart” and “True Sadness.”
“Ain’t No Man” found first Scott and then Seth venturing into the crowd, both of them singing while balanced on the short wall surrounding the Fox’s orchestra pit.
The show ended with “No Hard Feelings,” as it did the previous night. Dealing with death but also acceptance and peace, it may be the perfect closer. It capped a terrific night — and weekend — of music from the Avetts.