Fans of Bon Iver’s cryptic album 22, A Million have a new window through which to explore the album. Footage from a festival at the Michelberger Hotel in October of 2016 shows Justin Vernon rehearsing acoustic renderings of his material and performing with a live band. The event was coordinated by Vernon and a number of other musicians, including Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National.
Highlights include performances of 22, A Million tracks “29 #Strafford APTS” (above) and “____45_____” (below), as well as an acoustic practice session recorded by Vernon and Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan, playing the song sampled in “00000 million”—find that below.
The description explains the context to that particular session:
For a couple of month a man sat in our cafe. Same spot every morning. Writing in his little notebook. He didn’t talk much, with his coffee and his thoughts and some chats with the cafe staff every once in a while. One day Justin wrote, that he would love to invite this singer Fionn, whom he was sampling for the last song on his new album. He has not seen him since years and was not replying to mails. We looked him up to discover that this was Fionn, the guy from the cafe corner. Confidently telling Justin, that we will invite him tomorrow, when he shows up. Well, from that day he did no more … Until a few days before the festival. We told our colleagues, that in case this guy ever shows up again, write down his number … and so it went.
Another highlight is Vernon covering “Jolene” by Ray LaMontagne with the English rock trio The Staves. Aaron and Bryce Dessner also delivered a terrific jam session alongside The National/Beirut collaborator Ben Lanz, electronic producer Boys Noize and Alt-J’s Thom Green.
Check out more footage from the event below, and beneath that, find Paste Cloud audio from Bon Iver’s 2008 Daytrotter session.