Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Decemberists at Royce Hall

It all became clear to me, last night, as I heard the sonar come from the speakers about 20 minutes before the show. There is only one song that starts that way, Pink Floyd's "Echoes". Even if I wasn't aware that The Decemberists have covered it before, it was an easy call. And as the song ended, I turned to my daughter and said, "And the house lights go down". And sure enough, the lights went out. Colin's love of everything rock and roll, even prog rock, became even clearer to me now. Their new CD, "Hazards of Love", is a suite of songs, not unlike things Pink Floyd has done. They've added female vocalists for this tour, not unlike what Pink Floyd did with "Dark Side of the Moon". They added an extra dimension to the show by having four animators create video for the new CD, similar to things Pink Floyd has done over the years. And then they came out and gave us the entire piece, non stop, just like The Wall.

I saw this performance in Austin a few weeks ago. But now, seated closer to the stage with no mud in site, and with the fascinating animation on a large screen behind the band, the first hour of the show flew by. Most of the animation did not represent the lyrics of the CD as much as the mood of the music. There were some very cool effects and other stuff that was just strange. Overall it was great way to watch the show. The only portion that seemed to echo the lyrics was during "The Rake", with skeletons and death all around. The band played with enthusiasm and it was just a fun ride. After playing "Hazards", they took a fifteen minute break then came back and played a more standard set that ran another seventy five minutes. They played their fan favorites, did a classic rock cover (Heart's "Crazy on You"), goofed around, had a weird guitar duel, did some strange dancing and played musical chairs with their instruments. Just another Decemberists set. We all walked out completely satisfied.

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