Friday, June 5, 2009

Something New And Different: The Decemberists concert 06.03.09

and The Decemberists came on stage!

Longtime readers of my blog (hello, immediate family!) will remember that I saw The Decemberists in concert two years ago at the Tabernacle and had an amazing time. When I learned that they were coming back to the Tabernacle this summer, I looked into attending but was set back by the steep price. Due to some lucky circumstances and the intervention of Fate on Wednesday, I was able to attend the concert and had a marvelous time!

Blind Pilot opened the show; I wasn't previously familiar with their work but really enjoyed their set. Unlike the opening act from 2007, the crowd gave them a warm welcome and appreciated their music, rather than booing them offstage.

The main show was very different from the 2007 concert, largely because the setlist was the entirety of The Hazards of Love, their most recent album. I wasn't sure how well this would come off since most audiences are used to a mix of old and new tracks, not an entire new playlist of songs. Well. The Decemberists were joined by Becky Stark as Margaret and Shara Worden as the evil queen, and these ladies did not just sing: they acted their parts with dramatic gestures and costuming. Shara Worden in particular, clad in a short, steel-grey sequined dress, stole everyone's attention each time she swaggered to the front of the stage and belted her lines. Becky Stark set a beautiful contrast, swaying like a fairy princess as she sang of her love for William.

[Becky Stark as Margaret]

After the epic Hazards of Love, the band retreated, leaving the audience to wait hopefully for an encore. It was a long while before the band came back out (this time without Becky or Shara), about 25 minutes. That's not much of a wait unless you are dehydrated (should've stuck a Nalgene in my bag!) and sweaty (yes, I was back in the general admission, standing-only section). In any event, they came back out and did a 10-song encore. I was blown away, since I expected 4 songs, maybe 5 if we were lucky. Here they hit some classic favourites and more recent releases like "The Raincoat Song."

Overall score: 9.8

Setlist -- The Hazards of Love:
The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
A Bower Scene
Won't Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
The Queen's Approach
Isn't it a Lovely Night?
The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
An Interlude
The Rake's Song
The Abduction of Margaret
The Queen's Rebuke / The Crossing
Annan Water
Margaret in Captivity
The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

July, July
The Bachelor and the Bride
Engine Driver
Shankill Butchers
16 Military Wives (with audience participation)
Dracula's Daughter (a.k.a. the worst song Colin Meloy has ever written, as he explained)
O Valencia!
Crazy on You (awesome 80s cover)
The Raincoat Song
A Cautionary Song