Decked out in a floor-length sparkling dress with fur cuffs, Jenny Lewis left no doubt that the visual spectacle is a big part of her performance style. Still, the root of her art remains the songs that brought her to attention in the first place — and that was clear, too, from the reactions of the nearly full house at ACL Live on Saturday night.

Wide smiles and plenty of singing along to old favorite songs greeted Lewis and her excellent seven-piece band, whose 100-minute set focused largely on her new album "On The Line." She also reached back more than a decade for four cuts from her beloved solo debut "Rabbit Fur Coat" as well as two tunes from Rilo Kiley, the Los Angeles band that first launched Lewis into the spotlight.

Opening with the compelling new album cuts "Heads Gonna Roll" and "Wasted Youth," Lewis began behind a piano at center stage before stepping out front (and onto a small raised platform) for a room-raising rendition of her signature early-career number "The Big Guns." Accompanied throughout the evening by various combinations of electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and two string players, Lewis occasionally donned a guitar herself but mostly just sang, indulging her natural talent as a stage performer.

Comments to the crowd were few and far between, and the largely midtempo nature of Lewis's material from "On the Line" and 2014's "The Voyager" meant this night was more of a slow burn than a powder-keg blast. Mostly it just felt like a good-time Saturday night groove with about 2,500 devoted fans who've followed Lewis from those early Rilo Kiley days through her gradual metamorphosis into one of indie music's biggest stars. When pink and blue balloons dropped from the ceiling at the end of the main set, it struck just the right note of celebratory revelry.

Lewis still remembers well the fellow artists who helped her along the way, and thus the evening's perfect opening act was the Watson Twins, who shared billing with Lewis on the 2006 "Rabbit Fur Coat" album. Sisters Chandra and Leigh Watson have released a half-dozen records of their own since then, including last year's "Duo," from which they drew several songs in their delightful 45-minute opening set. In contrast to Lewis, who was mostly content to let the music speak for itself, the Watsons charmed the crowd with easygoing between-song banter.

Given their history with Lewis, it was pretty much a given that they would return to join her for a couple of numbers during the four-song encore, most notably the "Rabbit Fur Coat" barnburner "Rise Up With Fists!!" The surprise was how Lewis summoned them to the stage, using a prop telephone as if she were calling them to see if they'd already headed out to the tour's next stop. (They hadn't, of course.)

The telephone gag worked even better for the night's finale. This time she called Austin's own Britt Daniel of the band Spoon, who answered the ring ("Somebody told me to hold for Jenny Lewis") before joining everyone onstage for l lovely acoustic rendition of "Acid Tongue," the title track to Lewis's 2008 album.

Set list:

1. Heads Gonna Roll

2. Wasted Youth

3. The Big Guns

4. Silver Lining

5. Head Underwater

6. Happy

7. The Voyager

8. Do Si Do

9. She's Not Me

10. Hollywood Lawn

11. Red Bull & Hennessy

12. Just One of the Guys

13. On the Line

14. Little White Dove

15. Born Secular

16. With Arms Outstretched

Encore:

17. Party Clown

18. Rise Up With Fists!!

19. See Fernando

20. Acid Tongue