They Burned This Whole City Down
What a perfect Friday night: The Decemberists with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. At Chastain Park Amphitheater. On that rarest of July nights: low eighties, no humidity. A perfect setup for what proved to be a perfect show.
Pairing The Decemberists with the Atlanta Symphony was brilliant. Their songs work beautifully with an orchestra behind them, and tband seemed to get a kick out of playing with them. Plus, we got to hear the full “Tain,” which was amazing with the orchestra backing up the band! I walked out filled with joy and excitement; it was different, it was beautiful, it was fun.
The Decemberists performed a great mix, covering their entire catalog. Even though they didn’t perform any of my faves, the setlist was great.
Setlist: July 13, 2007
The Crane Wife 1 & 2
We Both Go Down Together
The Bagman's Gambit
Perfect Crime #2 *
L.A. I'm Yours
Oh Valencia *
I Was Meant for the Stage
16 Military Wives *
The Mariner's Revenge Song *
*without the Atlanta Symphony
Several friends and acquaintances have chosen to skip past Decemberists shows — even their set at Bonnaroo — because they imagine a dour, boring stage presence.
They are so wrong.
The Decemberists have a helluva good time on stage. Colin’s banter is always entertaining — “We’d love to play your requests, but it’s hard to ask the symphony to jam in the key of E” — and he even jumped into the crowd to sample crackers at a front table (people often bring elaborate picnics to Chastain). He also sang happy birthday to a front-row patron celebrating his 94th birthday; the adorable chap later waltzed with a lovely woman all over the pit.
There’s always one song that sends the band into wonderfully delirious craziness, and Friday night’s “I Was Meant for the Stage” was our fun moment under the stars. Colin had his guitar on the ground, playing it with his mouth, his feet, and other body parts, while the rest of the gang ran around stage like little kids, banging and playing and making all sorts of wonderful noise. I always enjoy that part of their show.
It was surprising to see so many empty seats at the amphitheater, but The Decemberists have played here twice in the last ten months. The fans who stayed home missed a great show, and should hang heads and kick doors all week.
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