Pernice Brothers' fantastic 1998 debut album, Overcome by Happiness, just got a much-needed reissue, including its first-ever vinyl pressing, and to celebrate the band played the album in full last week at special Boston area and NYC shows, where a seven-piece lineup of the band was backed by a string quartet. One twist: They played the album in reverse order, as Joe Pernice told the crowd at NYC's Racket on Friday that it made more sense that way in a live setting, "going from half-asleep to mostly awake."
This was the first time many of the album's songs had ever been played live, and they were all getting orchestration heard on the record. In between songs, Joe shared stories about Overcome by Happiness, including a few from the deluxe edition of the album's liner notes. It was a real treat to hear these songs in their full baroque glory.
After the album performance, Joe came back out to do a couple new songs, noting that he'd signed with New West (who put out this deluxe reissue), who also now control the entire Pernice Brothers catalog. One of those songs was "Purple Rain," which was not a Prince cover but a tribute to his friends David Berman and onetime Rhino executive Gary Stewart who both died by suicide in 2019.
After the two new songs, the rest of the band came back out -- minus the strings -- to play a few more songs, including two from 2001's The World Won't End ("Ballad of Bjorn Borg" and "Working Girls"), plus "There Goes the Sun" and "Sommerville."
Check out the setlist and photos from the NYC show by P Squared, along with videos from the Somerville, MA show (via Bradley's Almanac), below.
SETLIST: The Pernice Brothers @ Racket 5/19/2023
Overcome by Happiness:
Shoes and Clothes
All I Know
Wait to Stop
Sick of You
Overcome by Happiness
How Will We Sleep
The Purple Rain
Full band encore:
The Ballad of Bjorn Borg
There Goes the Sun