Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Decemberists / Warsaw / May 26, 2005

I wish every concert I went to took place at Warsaw because A) it takes 10 minutes to walk there from my apartmen B) the sightlines and sound are always great and, most importantly, C) they serve pierogies.

The Decemberists took the stage in matching hats and vests that Chris Funk described as “Polish pimp meets Richie Sambora.” Their main set was very similar to the Irving Plaza show, but shorter. Petra Haden sang “Wuthering Heights,” they made us scream like we were being swallowed by a whale during “The Mariner’s Revenge Song,” they interpolated “Hava Nagila” and some fake cock-rock posturing into “The Chimbley Sweep.” During the breakdown in the latter song, something happened that I’ve never experienced before in my life. Colin Meloy instructed the band and the audience to slowly get quieter and quieter and crouch down lower and lower, until we were all on the floor. I am not shitting you—every single person in the room was on their knees or their stomach. John Moen was sprawled across his drum kit, face down.

And then, in what was the single most ecstatic moment of any concert I have been to this year, we all simultaneously leapt to our feet, right when the band broke back into the chorus.

Jesus. You just can’t plan something like that.

For the encore, Colin did a solo acoustic version of “Shiny” and then… they played “The Tain.” All of it. Apparently, this epic five-part suite had been retired from live performance, but they brought it back because it was the last show on the tour. It didn’t sound quite as metal-riffic as it does on record, but it was still pretty sweet to see Colin sing that “cock in her kisser” line live. Tee hee.