It has been nearly five years since the last Cornelius record and tour. The first time I saw him back in 2002, when Point had just come out I was totally blown away by the show. I went expecting your typical rock band, but it was anything but typical. There were spectacle, showmanship, movies, lots of lights, choreographed moves, cool costumes and best of all, the band playing intricate songs that were created in the studio with a lot of fancy technology totally live. So this time I kind of new what to expect and was super excited for it. That cornucopia of sounds and images, with everything tightly choreographed to give you total sensory overload is like a drug.
The Cornelius band came on stage behind a giant white curtain obscuring the stage. A projector alternated bars of blue, red, yellow and white with backlit images of the instruments on stage. The curtain dropped to show Cornelius and his band all smartly dressed in pinstriped shirts with white collars, white belts and white shoes. The white shoes were a nice touch.
Most everyone else must have known what to expect too, because they were going nuts, wide eyed and cheering. The Cornelius band kicked the show off by leaning heavily on Point, doing Point of View Point, Smoke and Drop all at the start. Every song came with images being projected on a screen at the back of the stage and lots of wind chimes. Every member of the band had a set of wind chimes (a theme from the new album) and at what seemed like any quiet part of any song they would go for the chimes. So with the stop-start nature of the sound there was a lot of wind chiming going on. The second half of the show consisted entirely of Sensuous material. I was curious to see how Cornelius would replicate live some of the more non-musical aspects of the new record, Sensuous. The renditions of Sensuous and Like a Rolling Stone were nothing short of amazing. During Like a Rolling Stone, they showed this video of spinning objects, people, rocks, animals, etc with Cornelius somehow controlling the speed of rotation and zooming in and out on different spinning entities all while the band was replicating the intricate ambient soundscape of the record.
The show was not just cool whiz bang effects though, he brought up a guy from the audience to play the theremin with him and sent some kind of playback machine through the audience having us press different buttons to play different samples that were incorporated into the song. Mi-gu, the drummer was amazing as well. On Star Fruits Surf Rider, she totally amazed me, and seemed to be able to incorporate multiple rhythms into some of the songs giving you the feeling you were listening to two drummers. She has a couple solo records, one of them From Space I picked up after the show at the merchandise table.
Both at the end of the main set and at the end of the encore the entire band came to the front of the stage and applauded the audience and then bowed. Is that a custom in Nippon? They came out for the encore and all sat on stage in front of the audience and had a roadie take their picture in front of us. The band truly seemed to be having a blast and was just as exited to see us as we were them. Cornelius moved over to play bass and Mi-gu played flute for the night ending lullaby, Sleep Warm. My only complaint about the show was that it should have been at a better venue with a bigger stage. El Corazon’s small stage did not provide enough space for the band and all of the lighting and effects. If Cornelius is coming to your city, you should really take the opportunity to see him, you won’t be disappointed. And who knows when he will be back.
Drummer Mi-gu has a tour blog you can read here. She has some interesting insights to the tour and the
More photos that I took and the remaining dates of the tour after the jump.
04-26 San Francisco, CA – Bimbo’s 365
04-28 Indio, CA – Empire Polo Field (Coachella)
04-30 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theater
05-03 Bolder, CO – Fox Theater
05-07 Chicago, IL – Park West
05-09 Baltimore, MD – Sonar
05-10 New York, NY – Webster Hall
05-11 Philadelphia, PA – Theater of Living Arts
05-18 Leeds, England – Cockpit
05-19 Minehead, England – Butlins Holiday Centre (ATP)
05-23 London, England – KOKO
05-25 Paris, France – Nouveau Casino
05-26 Cologne, Germany – Moers Festival
05-27 Brussels, Belgium – Botanique