Sunday, February 06, 2011

For I am a poor and a wretched boy

The Decemberists show on Friday at the Riviera was amazing. It might have been my favorite Decemberists concert I've been to. Colin Meloy was in great spirits and really interacted a lot with the crowd. I was standing right up by the stage, so I got some great pictures.

Colin came out first and played one of his solo songs, and then the band came on and played three in a row from the new album. The musicians were in top form, and the highlight of this set of songs was definitely "Calamity Song," the most R.E.M,-sounding of their R.E.M.-inspired album. But "Rise to Me" was also beautiful, and the whole crowd seemed to have already learned all the words.

Next the band went a little old school with "The Infanta," "Los Angeles, I'm Yours," and a stirring "The Engine Driver," all of which thrilled the sold-out crowd.

Another highlight came when they played all three parts of "The Crane Wife," some of my favorite Decemberists songs.

Then the new music came back, and I loved every song they played. But "This is Why We Fight" had a new sense of power and emotion when I watched them play it live.

With "16 Military Wives" Colin led us all in a crowd sing-along (as he has done many times before). At one point he looked right at my friend Jill and me and said, "You've done this before." That made us giddy of course.

The final song of the regular set was the true spectacle. Before the song started, Colin said that the way that Rahm Emanuel convinced the Illinois Supreme Court to put his name back on the ballot was by taking a guitar and playing this song for them. Then "The Chimbley Sweep" started up, and the band proceed to get crazy. Halfway into the song, they all began switching instruments, which they don't necessarily know how to play. So Colin was on the drums, Chris was on the accordian, Jenny was playing the bass, Nate was on the keyboards, and John was pretending to be a rock singer. He kept doing rock star poses, and then started some strange spoken word thing about a train. It was basically a cacophony of chaos on stage.

And then Colin came to the front of the stage and handed his guitar to my friend Jill, and she got to play for a while while Colin looked on.

Then Colin began to crowd-surf, as did Chris and Nate.

This whole interlude of craziness went on for about 10 minutes, before the band members all took their real spots and started playing the rest of "The Chimbley Sweep." The whole thing was so incredibly amusing that I was laughing quite a bit.

Colin also at right in front of us and watched the band for a while.

The encores (yep, plural) were also fantastic, with the crowd-pleasing "Mariner's Revenge Song" and the lovely "January Hymn" and "June Hymn"

The show just had a great energy to it. The setlist was superb and everyone had a fun time.

My Mother Was A Chinese Trapeze Artist 

Down By the Water 

Calamity Song 

Rise To Me


Los Angeles, I'm Yours

The Engine Driver 

The Crane Wife 1 & 2
The Crane Wife 3 

Don't Carry It All 

Rox In The Box 

This Is Why We Fight 

16 Military Wives 

The Chimbley Sweep 

A Case Of You (Joni Mitchell cover)
January Hymn 

The Mariner's Revenge Song 

Encore 2:
June Hymn


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