Deschanel, who sometimes comes across as stiff on camera in films such as (500) Days of Summer and Elf, was playful on stage and even engaged in some banter with the lively crowd on subjects ranging from Peach Cobbler to the Passover Seder. However it is her silky smooth voice that drives this act. Her throaty cooing and spirited yips and squeals often make it hard to concentrate on much else as she has just about everyone in the room transfixed.
She also attacked her role as band leader, jumping up and down and shaking a tambourine during Black Hole and banging away on the piano on emotional renditions of Lingering Still and Sentimental Heart.
Ward, for his part, seems mostly content to serve as part of the backing band. His surf-style licks fit Deschanel’s vocals perfectly and throughout the night his playing was subtle yet powerful, especially on a rocking version of This is Not a Test. His own vocal range is pretty impressive too as he can go from sounding like Tom Waits to Wayne Coyne with ease. There were times he seemed a little disinterested and distracted onstage but it never affected his playing.
For a brief portion in the middle of the show, the band left the stage and Deschanel and Ward tackled a few songs as a duo, highlighted by a glorious cover of You Really Got a Hold on Me with Ward on an acoustic guitar and his smoky voice echoing Deschanel’s through the verses.
Overall, She & Him is a different kind of concert experience. You don’t dance much. You don’t really rock out at all. But you do lock in on the band and walk out just as impressed as if a good rock and roll band had just kicked your ass.