The Decemberists at Woodland Park Zoo
22 August 2006
A show unlike any others not because it was amazing, but because it was a family outing. With two kids and Georgette in tow we made our way up the hill to the zoo. Trying to actually pay attention to what was happening on stage was bit more difficult for me than your average concert goer.
At times it seemed that Colin Meloy was oblivious to the fact that he was playing to an all ages show (all ages meaning little kids, not just your grubby teenager), dropping the f-bomb and asking everyone to stand up, forgetting that when you’re under 4 feet tall it’s hard to see over a bunch of old people standing in front of you. That said, if I was kiddless, I would not have cared about any of the above.
I have always had fun seeing shows a the zoo. It’s a really laid back atmosphere, in a beautiful setting. Big trees surround the lawn and stage, and the scale of the place is such that you have a good seat no matter where you decide to spread your blanket.
Colin Meloy appeared on stage sans band and started with I Was Meant for the Stage, while the rest of the band filed on stage and joined in. From here it gets a bit fuzzy. A couple songs in, my son has to go pee, so we make our way to the port-o-pottys to the tune of 16 Military Wives, the song sounded good even inside the port-o. My next memory is hearing We Both Go Down Together and The Engine Driver back to back while sitting down on the blanket with Georgette. Ian is off with his buddy Simon running up and down the big hill to the side of the stage, and Elsa has fallen asleep in a Simon’s mom’s arms.
I then grab the camera and head up front to try my hand at taking pictures, which as you can see I suck at. Anyway, I go up to the front of the stage to snap a few bad photo’s and hear a couple new songs from the immanently available The Crane Wife. They played a couple of the shorter songs from the new record, O Valencia! and The Perfect Crime #2. While up front I also checked out the merch table and noticed they were selling t-shirts for $20 a pop. The Decemberists are definitely not indie anymore. And on top of the hefty price they were on American Apparel shirts.
I got back to our base (the blanket) and then wondered over to the hill that Ian and Simon are running all over. I meet up with Mike (Simon’s dad) and we hang out with the boys and listen to two of my favourite Decemberists songs, Lesly Anne Levine and Song for Myla Goldberg. Both songs are great, I love the accordion in LAL. We also hear a few other songs while Ian and Simon are now rolling down the hill. I think they did July, July! and something else.
It’s now 8:15 and the band is leaving the stage, since all zoo shows are over by 8:30, I figure we’ll get an encore. We get the excellent encore version of the The Mariner’s Revenge Song with its Eastern European flavored sound it gets everyone moving and wanting more. Alas, the clock has chimed and the Decemberists leave the stage before they turn into pumpkins, or giraffes or something like that.
Openers, the Nethers were decent. The songs you can hear at their site seemed a bit better than what I heard live. I heard a few similarities to the Howling Bells which are one of my favourite new bands out of Australia at the moment.