The Savannah Music Festival roared to life on March 21 with seven performances in five different downtown venues.
Along with more than 2,000 others, a friend and I saw The Avett Brothers on opening night, in the first of the band's two sold-out shows at Johnny Mercer Theatre.
There was palpable excitement in the cavernous space before the band took the stage, and for two solid hours, the Avetts matched the mood of the crowd with their high-energy and seemingly boundless passion.
I find the Mercer's muffled acoustics frustrating for most shows, but the sound was pretty sharp in the front row of the balcony. The lighting and staging were also glorious from that height and distance.
As a six-piece band, The Avett Brothers essentially put on a rock show, but the best moments came when the strings were alone on stage and when Scott and Seth Avett's voices rose far above the instruments. Those boys can sing.
But they aren't boys anymore, huh? Now 37 and 33, the brothers have a polished stage presence but still manage to capitalize on the energy of youth.
I can't help wondering, however, where the band goes from here. The Avetts' best songs are several years old at this point, and it seems like the passing of time will demand some further evolution.
I'm assuming that a good number of Avett attendees will hit a few other upcoming SMF productions, including Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Sierra Hull at the Lucas Theatre and Vince Gill at the Mercer.
As I write this, there are fewer than 100 tickets left for Vince Gill, and Ricky Skaggs is listed as sold out.
But keep in mind that tickets are often available at SMF venues just before show time. There are always some folks who can't make it, especially since many tickets are purchased months before the 17-day festival.
It's also worth remembering the sheer breadth and depth of the Savannah Music Festival schedule. The festival's second weekend features promising classical performances in the intimate setting of Trinity United Methodist Church, appearances by a number of jazz greats and the finale of Swing Central Jazz, one of the festival's educational initiatives.
My personal schedule for the SMF's second weekend includes iconic blues musician Taj Mahal, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn performing together, and a double bill of Pokey LaFarge and Savannah native Kristina Train.
I know I've said it before, but with so many choices, it's impossible to make a bad choice.
Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged (www.billdawers.com). Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.