Tuesday, October 30, 2007

reclining on an ocean swell

Night two--the Short of It.

And if last night was musically mesmerizing, tonight was SO MUCH FUN. OMG.

They opened semi-acoustic (accordion, stand-up bass, guitar, snare and banjo/mandolin/tambourine) in a small semi-circle in the center of the stage, and the first five songs? Easy to remember, as you may catch a pattern...

My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist
Angel, Won't You Call Me?
I Don't Mind

*heh* No Apology Song, though. Colin totally failed on the lyrics to "Trapeze" at the end of the first verse (everything from "And there in the half-light..." till "fall of the Reich," which he did remember). Colin was pretty amusing all night, actually, but I'll get to more of that in a second, after I try to piece together as much of the rest of the setlist as I can remember...

O Valencia!
Billy Liar
The Soldiering Life
Eli, the Barrow Boy (w/ hurdy-gurdy)
Leslie Anne Levine
The Engine Driver
Yankee Bayonet (w/ Laura Veirs, as one would expect)
Culling of the Fold (OMG WTF)
The Perfect Crime #2
The Chimbley Sweep
A Cautionary Song
After the Bombs (!!!) / Ask (Smiths cover)

...yeah, I think that's about it. So, as you may note: two Crane Wife bonus tracks! Colin went NUTS during "Culling"--he wasn't playing a guitar, so he wandered up and down the front of the stage, wrapping the mic cord around and around himself and manhandling various audience members in the front row, entreating them to "Cut 'em up boy [or girl]"... Then, at the end of the song, he leapt up on the amp in front of John's drum kit but promptly lost his balance, so the song ended rather abruptly with his crashing down on the cymbals and winding up in John's lap. hee.

I was closer to the front tonight, which was very helpful during the audience "dance contest" that ensued during "Crime" (no winners--"Everybody wins at a Decemberists concert!" nyuk, nyuk) and the Colin/Chris "dance contest" during "Chimbley" after they ceded their respective guitars to two audience members they hauled up onstage. !!! This is why I need to practice guitar--you never know when you'll be forced to improvise--onstage--with one of your favorite bands. I would've thoroughly embarrassed myself with my meager chops.

"Cautionary" was fantastic, not just because John and Chris paraded past me twice, but also thanks to "an historical reenactment of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre" in the middle of the crowd, with various audience members as thugs and Chris/Capone meeting his demise not from the machine guns that killed Malone/John, nor the "meteor" that killed Capone's thugs, but rather an ingrown toenail infection. Oh, the humanity!

I just love this band. Seeing them = so much unabashed joy. I think they're the best bang for your concert buck touring these days, and trust me when I say I've seen a show or ten. I honestly think the only reason I'm NOT following them around is because my silly little law school responsibilities won't let me. (Oh, and because it would be wildly expensive, and because I don't have a car.) But still. GO TO THIS TOUR. Jaci, you may have awhile to wait, but oh, it will be worth it (I'll be curious to hear how they switch up the Short of It).

...and I'm not ashamed to admit that I may have sung snippets of the "Chimbley" chorus to myself all the way home from the Chicago brown line stop, which, STUPID RED LINE RUNNING ABOVE GROUND ARRGH. But not even that, nor my lack of jacket in 52-degree weather, could keep these spirits down. No sirree.

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