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8 July 2007

last night i made my first trip of the summer to the hollywood bowl (first and hopefully not last, since the bowl will be hosting a variety of interesting artists this summer). and what a fantastic line-up. the evening started with band of horses, whose performance made me want to go home and listen more. i started listening to them a few months ago and liked their album, but i’ve been a little obsessed with wilco and arcade fire this spring, so everyone else has gotten short shrift. their live performance underscored their music’s lyricism–a lyricism that is beautiful and soulful without being self-indulgent. and left me anticipating their new album (i think they said it’s due out in october).

they were followed up by andrew bird with his fantastic whistling abilities. i suppose anyone who can whistle has fantastic abilities compared to me (can’t whistle to save my life), but he can whistle a tune while accompanying himself on guitar or violin or glockenspiel. which seems pretty fantastic to me. but his fantastic ability isn’t limited to whistling and playing. his lyrics are fanciful, full of understated magic. and his performance, with a crazy contraption that looked like two old-school phonograph trumpets attached to each other whirling around behind him, reinforced that magic. i’m not sure exactly what the contraption did to the sound, but i’m sure it was there for more than visual effect…

the headliners last night, and the reason we went (though band of horses and andrew bird added to the appeal), were the decemberists. they played with the l.a. phil. which was interesting. i’d not seen a rock band play with a philharmonic before. i liked it. there were moments when the sound was a bit out of balance. but the decemberists’ music is so vibrantly orchestral that having all those horns and a harp and strings behind them didn’t detract from the music at all. the orchestra, the beautiful summer night, the music, and the band all combined to make for a magical night.

no small part of that magic was due to their singer, colin meloy, who is a pure delight. his performance had me laughing–that laughter that must be let out because you’ve seen something so beautiful that you can’t keep it inside. his exuberance was infectious. his antics during the encore–a jaunt around the semicircle wall in front of the stage complete with mimed guitar solo played in tandem with chris funk, asking the crowd to indulge him by waving their cell phones–had the crowd begging for more.

as we walked out last night, down the long hill to find our bus back to the car, i felt at complete peace with the world. there’s something so beautifully human about music–about thousands of people gathering, singing, cheering for something as ephemeral as a song. a celebration of being. i don’t ever want to go without it again.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 July 2007 8:39 am

    So much fun! I remember going to the Hollywood Bowl once as a teenager but don’t remember what the concert was…do you? I think it was an orchastra? Music has a way of lifting my moods. The other day I got on the treadmill to run and wasn’t in very high spirits. One of my favorite songs (at the moment) came on and completely changed my mood. Even R commented how amazing a song could change my mood so quickly. Then yesterday at choir I was totally overwhelmed with the spirt while singing a beautiful hymn. The words, beautiful music, and beautiful voice of the woman next to me gave me a much needed uplift!

  2. 9 July 2007 9:09 am

    i didn’t know you sing in the choir. how fun. i miss doing that. someday i’ll have the time again.are you thinking of the time we went and took sue bunker with us? if so, we saw a performance of a mahler symphony and it was the l.a. philharmonic. i think the second symphony, but i’m not sure on that. and it was the summer of 98.i need to send you some music. too bad i asked mom to ship a box off to you without thinking about including some CDs. next time…

  3. 9 July 2007 9:18 am

    Yippie, a box! And I only sing in the choir because they need my noise. I’m not all that great at carrying a tune but I like to sing anyway.

  4. 9 July 2007 7:26 pm

    Wow, I really love the Decemberists. Sounds like an awesome show. Maybe I need to get my priorities straight and see some more live music. :)

  5. 11 July 2007 9:02 am

    I went to that show. It was amazing, although I would have to agree with you about the sound being off balance at some points. This is my thrid Decemberists show, and while I feel they play better to a small audience, I have to say that I kept thinking what a dream it would be for them to have their music played with an orchestra.The Bowl is also very awesome. Good picnicing spot, and also there are lots of good transportation options. You can a shuttle from Long Beach, which gets you in and out very quickly, saves gas, and avoids stack parking (the worst.)

  6. 11 July 2007 9:32 am

    glad you got to enjoy it, catbonny! i’d love to see the decemberists in a small venue some day…and good info on a shuttle from long beach; i’ll have to check that out for my next trip to the bowl.

  7. 11 July 2007 11:16 am

    I’m jealous of all the fun concerts you have been going to….someday I will get to attend a concert again…….my sad is missing U2 last year! tash

  8. 11 July 2007 12:02 pm

    well next time U2 tours, you and i are going. even if we have to fly across the country to do it…

  9. 11 July 2007 10:03 pm

    OK it’s a deal!tash :)

  10. 12 July 2007 8:30 am

    My first concert was U2, but I think it’s pretty well-established that it was for their least appealing album: Popmart. And I’m glad you enjoyed our Hollywood Bowl experience as much as I did, Amy. I knew you’d adore Colin.

  11. 12 July 2007 4:42 pm

    Hey, I want to be involved on the U2 deal!

  12. 13 July 2007 9:57 am

    of course you need to be involved on the U2 deal! maybe we can do it in some fun city like portland or charleston or seattle or something and turn it into a girl trip.

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