Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Decemberists in Central Park

I've been to my fair share of Decemberists shows. Six, in fact. And even though they do tend to play some of the same songs each time ("crowd-pleasers" I think they call them), they never get old. Whether that's because the songs themselves are timeless -- they are -- or whether the band just never plays them the same way twice -- they don't -- I'm not quite sure. But the fact remains, as long as I live, I don't think I'll ever walk away from a Decemberists show unsatisfied.

The most recent such show was last night, at Central Park's SummerStage. I left work a little early and got to the park at about 6:00 pm. It was a hot day, but the sun was setting and by the time the band got on stage it had cooled down enough. But before that were two openers, Land of Talk and Grizzly Bear.

Land of Talk really impressed me. They had a certain Cardigans-esque quality, probably attributed to the singer's accent, that made me instantly want to hear more. Where have the Cardigans been, anyway? Are you out there, Nina Persson? If so, make another album. Anyway, Land of Talk were good, good enough to follow up on, anyway. Grizzly Bear, on the other hand...

Let's just say, if it weren't for the sweltering heat, I may have fallen asleep on the astro-turf during Grizzly Bear's performance. Each song was the same mixture of soaring vocals and one line repeated for what seemed like eight minutes apiece. Sometimes the drums or the bass would play a nice fill and give me some hope of enjoying the song, but they would inevitably be drowned out by high-pitched warbling and/or that song's one line repeated for the ninetieth goddamn time. D-, Grizzly Bear. See me after class.

But then the Decemberists came on. Oh, Decemberists, you can make any opener worth putting up with. You and your 9,000 instruments and your lovable bass player.

They opened with "July, July!" which I suppose I should have expected, and they tried to put together a Summer-themed setlist as best they could. But when a band has songs like the Decemberists', it's hard to play too many songs that are even remotely uplifting or "Summer-y."

After leaving the stage due to their park-mandated curfew, they returned with the announcement that they in fact had plenty of time left to play, so their encore lasted for three more songs. They even had time to finish with their trademark "Mariner's Revenge Song," which included a nap in the middle for all the tired children in the audience.

In all it was a great show, exactly what I've come to expect from the Decemberists. They never fail to impress me each and every time I see them play. Even after so many years of touring, and so many times seeing them play, each show is a beautiful and unique snowflake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you're dumb. i give you a D-