Photos by Paige K. Parsons
The Beyonce song was slated and typed in as the encore opener to Haim’s short set at The Fillmore Wednesday evening. But the show had a different feel. It was the opening night of the band’s first full North American tour. Sisters Este, Danielle and Alana had their parents in the house, up from Los Angeles.
And so, even though bassist Este alluded to it toward the beginning of the show, it still came as a surprise when “XO” was x-ed out, and instead, the audience witnessed a reformation of Rockinhaim — the family band where the girls got their start by playing covers of the Eagles and Santana. Wednesday, it was a cover of the Mack Rice-penned 1965 song “Mustang Sally,” with mom Donna on lead vocals and dad Moti masterfully handling drum duties, even though it was his first time playing with in-ear monitors.
That moment summed up the show as a whole, following an intense of set of songs that ranged from R&B groovers to guitar-shredding demonstrations. The sisters, who were backed by a male drummer and keyboardist, flew through most of the songs in their repertoire, pausing briefly only to joke about their experiences growing up, the excitement they were feeling, and to recognize that lead singer-guitarist Danielle has already played two sold-out shows five years ago as a member of Jenny Lewis’ band. Most of the songs fans have heard on the radio — “Falling,” “Days Are Gone,” and “Forever” — as well as blistering takes on “Let Me Go” and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” were included.
Haim’s San Francisco shows sold out within two days, and that would have happened even sooner had both dates been announced at the same time. Perhaps the only downside was the length of their songbook to-date. Thirteen songs didn’t seem to be quite enough to headline a venue like The Fillmore. The band hasn’t had time to get back to the recording studio to record any new music since their meteoric success began a year ago. By the time they do, it’s conceivable they will be playing even larger venues, and they won’t have to rely as much on covers. “XO” should permanently be replaced by new, original fan favorites.