by eliza czander

I was hesitant to go to The Decemberists concert last night at Terminal 5. It was pouring, I was going alone, and I would have to drive home after. Oh, and I would have to find a way to sneak in with only a photo pass. I didn’t know if this was a band I liked enough for all that. Was it gonna be worth it?


I decided to grow a pair, threw on a raincoat, and got in the car. Boy, am I glad I did. One thing that always kind of got on my nerves about The Decemberists is Colin Meloy‘s nasal, congested sounding voice. I was always able to appreciate their song-writing, their curious lyrics that consistently tell a story (even if it’s one you don’t wholly understand), and their sing-songy repeat choruses. It was always that voice that I couldn’t seem to get past.

All that changed last night. I fucking loved his voice. Loved it. What had I been griping about? Colin and the rest of the band is able to make anyone that’s on the fence about The Decemberists an instant believer.

They opened with “Odelisique,” seamlessly rolling into “Yankee Bayonette” and finally “July!July!” It was then that I was kicked out of the photo pit and forced to find refuge somewhere in the sold out Terminal 5. I found a great spot near the wheelchairs, and settled into what was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while.

THE DECEMBERISTS from Quiet Color on Vimeo.

Colin rallied the crowd early on, talking about Obama‘s victory, how this is going to be a concert for change; at one point he had the crowd chanting “Yes We Can!,” as he riffed wildly on his guitar. Fucking great. From start to finish, the progressions from song to song, and the moments that Colin took to converse with the audience, to make a joke, or to duel banjos on his back with guitarist Chris Funk…It all went off without a hitch.

I mean, this was a goddamn show. Growling into the mic, “This is a song about killing someone,” as the lights went red, and the keyboards grumbled, Colin wailed his way through “The Perfect Crime #2.” At the end, just before fading into darkness, he wrapped the mic chord around his neck and nearly fell into the crowd. Coming out of it all laughing with his buddies, taking another sip of red wine, it was clear that this band knows how to have fun on stage. And better yet, they know how to take everyone with them.

Decemberists from Quiet Color on Vimeo.

Toward the end of their set, Colin jumped into the crowd, grabbed someone’s cell phone, dialed god knows who, and sang “Sons and Daughters” to some lucky guy or gal at the top of his lungs. Then the band brought out openers, Loch Lomond, to sing the final song, “The Crane Wife 3.”The crowd went nuts.

After such an intense show, I was expecting that the encore would blow my musical wad. It didn’t. Colin did a slow acoustic jam with drummer John Moen, and then brought everyone out again (including their Obama cutout) to sing “California One Youth and Beauty.” It was a simply pleasant end to a truly spectacular show. I suppose one can’t ask for or expect more. The Decemberists made a fan out me. And I didn’t even really like them that much. There you go.

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