the five wan vagabonds descended upon oakland’s fox theater last night, and brought friends, music, and an evening to remember — as they are want to do.
for those unfamiliar with the decemberists’ latest effort, ‘the hazards of love,’ please stop what you’re doing and sink into the album with a nice cup of tea, some liner notes, and an open mind. for those already indoctrinated, the album can only be described as inevitable, given the band’s lit-rock-meets-thematic-concept proclivities. frontman colin meloy has stated in many interviews that ‘hazards’ was originally conceived as a musical. once deemed too complex for the stage, meloy opted for the rock opera treatment.
either way, the ability to bring the conceptual telling of a love affair between a changeling and a bowery girl to the stage has piqued many a interest. in fact, some of my co-workers are avidly working on a music show for current, and in the process spent some time with the band during their rehearsals for ‘a short fazed hovel’ tour. to say that i was a little jealous was an understatement.
to celebrate the kickoff of the tour, the current music folks posted some of their (stellar) photos from their time spent with the band. do yourself a favor and check them out — they’ve got it featured on the current music channel and boy do they put my meager efforts to shame.
amidst questions about the feasibility of bringing the album to life on stage, the band has responded in kind — performing the entire album in one full 62 minute set during the tour, and packing pivotal guest vocalists shara worden (of my brightest diamond) and becky sparks (of lavender diamond) along for the ride.
to further entice audiences, the crew has opted to play a second set at each show, the latter comprised of a smattering of older songs. to give you a sense of what greeted bay area audiences wednesday night, follow the jump to get a glimpse at the set list and watch video from the performance.
The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
A Bower Scene
Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
The Queen’s Approach
Isn’t It a Lovely Night?
The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid
The Rake’s Song
The Abduction of Margaret
The Queen’s Rebuke/The Crossing
Margaret in Captivity
The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)
Grace Cathedral Hill
We Both Go Down Together
If I Could Only Win Your Love
Crane Wife 3
Sons and Daughters
The Raincoat Song
A Cautionary Song (with Donnor Party Interlude by The Decemberists Family Players)
to call the effort ambitious is an exercise in modesty — it’s a huge undertaking and a risky one at that. first and foremost, those whom devour ‘the hazards of love’ are sure to reap the benefit of the extended format. but those unfamiliar with their latest effort may feel slightly unsettled with the thematic outpour during the first set. thankfully, i’m a huge fan of the latest album, and the fact that this could very well be the only chance to see the album performed in its entirety (with all the original players in tow), it made for a truly special night. if you happen to be in a town awaiting the band’s arrival, brace yourself. study up. and get tickets if you haven’t already.
i do have one (plaguing) regret when it comes to seeing the decemberists in concert — i have yet to see them perform ‘the tain.’ honestly, the second set (while nice) was full of songs off of ‘the crane wife’ – i could’ve done with a few less of those tracks, but oh well. as for those of you who are out of luck regarding tickets, here’s the evening’s closing song. enjoy: