So baby and I got home a few minutes before the doors were to open, but we know how these things go, we live about a 5 minute leisurely bike ride from the Lifestyles Pavilion, so there’s no rush. We cooked up some yummy chicken sausage and Mac N’ Cheese for me, edamame for baby (she can’t do cow cheese, though I suspect there is nothing even chemically resembling cheese in Mac N’ Cheese). We cleaned our plates, checked in on the Facebooks & the Society, hopped on our bikes (her, the Caliente, me, the tank) and headed to the show.
Good line-up outside, interesting comparison to when we saw them two and 1/2 years back on the night of our engagement. Then, you had people wearing the “old garb” from days of yore, playing along with the Meloy aesthetic, but that was 2 1/2 years ago, the Decemberists, hell, the world, is a very different place now. This time, it was your average jeans & t-shirt crowd, some dressed up a little more, some dressed a little less, but if there was a bell curve on the fashion statement of the night, it was the jeans & t’s…
Oh well… we head in and b-line to the swag table (and by b-line, I mean more of a giant backwards C shape to the back of a very long line). There’s no way we were going to deal with swag during or after the show. Got our commemorative t-shirts (me, the brown one with the branches as a skull print, baby, the orange one with the hat floating on a wild river (one can assume it’s poor William’s)).
Got some bad Sprite & a watered-down beer (which, about 5 sips later, I tossed in the trash) and watched as Blind Pilot came on to warm us up. Lovely little band…. kinda reminded me of Elvis Perkins but with more female singing. Their set was very nice but climaxed wonderfully when the audience, the Decemberists, and the band all sang “Happy Birthday” to Israel, the lead-singer before Blind Pilot flew into a wonderful drum-banging finale. I think I’ll need to find that album.
Okay, now for the show, the reason for the season, the Decemberists. We made our way down to the main floor, but hung in the back. The band came on and literally, literally, literally blew our mind!!! Wow….. I LOVE the Hazards Of Love, I mean, it’s locked in a viscous battle for Album Of The Year for lard’s sake, but hearing it live, from start to finish, with the depth and intensity they brought, was just UNREAL. And let me add, I’m an “album guy”, meaning I love absorbing albums more than going to shows, so I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t care for bands to play their songs just like they are on the album, if I wanted to hear your songs like that, I’d play them in the comfort of my earphones, thank you, I like shows where they have some fun, mix it up, cover songs, and generally make a unique experience…. but not so with The Hazards Of Love. I mean, yeah, it was just the album, no breaks, no banter, no deviations (except maybe a bit of fancy guitar work here and there) and it was perfect. What was missing with the lack of album-production-finesse, was made up times 10 with the intensity!
The only thing that I almost let ruin it was the audience I was near for this part of the show. Please help me understand, because I’m miffed. Why oh why oh why oh WHY would you spend the money to go to a show, make the effort to get down in the heart of the audience on the floor, only to talk, LOUD TO YOUR STUPID “BROS” DURING THE ENTIRE FUCKING SHOW????? Seriously, I just don’t get it. If you are more interested in drinking beer and being stupid with your “dudes”, “bros”, and their haggard girlfriends, I can recommend a number of bars that you can do that at much greater efficiency and much less fan annoyance.
Anyways…. They wrap Hazards Of Love and take a break, so we start shimming up for part II, as baby is super-hyped up now on good times and Excedrin and we don’t want to risk the dumbasses ruining things. It was in the middle, but off to the left we settled in with a wonderful & enthusiastic group, you know, actual fans…
Hi Crystal! (I hope I heard you right, I nary heard anything from anyone at that point)
After a bit of boogieing to some Johnny Cash, the D’s came back and loaded up the second set where the interactive bantering and singingalong show we all come to know and love from Meloy and the crew commenced. Baby & I danced around like tweeners at a Jonas Brothers concert, but nothing like the guy in front of me who danced like he was at a techno-rave! Outside of the occasional worry for my physical self, it was all good times and good fun. We all dutifully sang our “la de da de da dee da de da de daaaa’s” to “Sixteen Military Wives”, we all rejoiced when, after being amused as Meloy once again shared his worse song ever, the band seamlessly flew into “O Valencia!”…. but it was the finale that took the cake as the saying goes (what’s up with that saying? Who takes cakes? And how is that a good thing?)…. When Becky Stark & Shara Worden came back on the stage and belted it out, probably destroying a vocal chord or two, a cover of Heart’s “Crazy On You”! Stark held her own, dumping her sweet voice for banshee-style screaming of “Crrrrraaazy on you!” showing Shara that she’s got some emotable chops of her own!
Wow and wow again.
Of course, there was an encore (seriously, one of the silliest traditions in music… I think it’d be hilarous if a band just played their full set, had a blast, and BLAMO, we are done!) and it was short and sweet one. We got to hear Colin, Jenny, and Chris play a little “Eli”, then everyone came back out to cap it off with their perfect closer, “Sons & Daughters” where we ALL swayed left to right and sang along as loud as we could……….
The lights came on and we made our way out into the drizzling remnants of the rain to our wet bikes and rode home with extraordinarily stupid grins on our faces and tire-spray up our backs. Just a fantastic evening. Thank you Decemberists for reminding me, again, how amazing concerts can be.
If you can, go see them. I’m pretty sure this will be the only time they’ll play Hazards Of Love all the way through, outside of the occasional special occasion (well, that was redundant to write), so get in while the gettins good!!! And if you don’t care about the Hazards Of Love but want to drink beer, hear a band, and fuck around with your bros… do us all a favour, stay in the back…. please?
Okay! Got a small little treat I whipped up this morning, half asleep with my normal abnormally strong coffee. A little mixtape of sorts based on the second set….
Simply, it’s the songs they played for their second set as they were originally released (meaning the Heart song is Heart’s version of the song). Think of it as a Short Fazed Hovel Sampler Platter to get you ready for the main dish. That’s it! So enjoy and then get your ass to the show!!!!
A Little Mixtape Based On The Decemberists Second Set In Columbus, OH, On June 1, 2009!!!!
The Hazards Of Love (the complete album, go buy it!)
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OU R S O C I E T Y
& yes, even TWITTER