For The Inquirer
"Thanks, y'all," repeated Amy Ray and Emily Saliers after nearly every one of their 21 songs Friday night at the Mann Music Center. Throughout the almost-two-hour set, the Indigo Girls were nothing if not appreciative.
The mostly female crowd returned the love, singing in mass harmony to "Power of Two," "Closer to Fine," and other old favorites, shimmying to the ska-fueled "Heartache for Everyone," the hoedown "Yield," and other recent favorites, and cheering the reference to same-sex marriage in "Trouble."
Backed by their three-piece band, Saliers and Ray alternated lead vocals throughout the hot and sticky evening, which they said reminded them of their native Georgia.
Saliers has a penchant for acoustic ballads and for mixing socially conscious metaphors into love songs. "You've been the hole in my sky, my shrinking water supply," she sang in "Fill It Up Again" from the recent All That We Let In.
Ray has a rock-and-roll streak that favors electric guitars and angrier emotions; the set-closing "Go" was surprisingly loud, with moments of discordant feedback. She also experiments with roots genres: The mandolin-driven "Dairy Queen" pulsed with a reggae beat; and accordion, pennywhistle, and harmonica amplified the Civil War references in "Become You."
The two were at their best when singing together, whether in counterpoint on "Perfect World" or in close harmony on "Shame on You," and on the captivating medley of "Chickenman" and "Bitterroot," which prompted someone in the crowd to shout, before Ray or Saliers could say it, "Thanks, y'all."