Just came from "The Long of It," the first night of the Decemberists' double-header here in Chicago--as well as the first night of their fall tour. And I was skeptical about this evening, because while I think every single one of their more epic songs sound better live, my very favorites are the shorter ones.
Boy oh boy, was I wrong. That was one HELL of a show.
For starters, it took them well over an hour to play 5 songs. !!! Here's the setlist (easy to remember):
The Crane Wife 1, 2 + 3
The Bagman's Gambit
California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade
I Was Meant for the Stage
Echoes (Pink Floyd)
The Mariner's Revenge Song
I don't think I forgot anything... time limit cutoff for "long" was 8 minutes, but the average was probably 12-15 min per song. They didn't stop between the Crane Wife suite and the Island, and afterward Colin admitted, "Um, maybe that was a bad idea to open with those. I'm exhausted." He then proceeded to say that there wouldn't be much banter on the Long of It nights due to the excess of music, and that there wouldn't be much drinking, either. John chimed in that perhaps the shows should have been called "The Long of It and the Drunk of It!" heh. I'm eager to see how tomorrow evening goes.
But seriously, they tore it up tonight. Songs that once upon a time I didn't much care for (e.g., "Stage") were incredible. The Pink Floyd cover was unbelievable. And I closed my eyes during "California One" and imagined driving along both that eponymous highway as well as the western coast of Ireland, and no matter how stressed out I was about the loss of my wallet, the upcoming MPRE, the paper I'm behind on, tomorrow's presentation or the reading I'm not going to have time to do... it was worth it to spend a couple hours with some of my favorite musicians.
It'll be worth missing Ethics tomorrow, too. Everything I learned about professional responsibility (revenge, duplicity, theft...) I learned from the Decemberists? Hmm.