Live Review: The Decemberists at Warfield
The Decemberists are LOVED by their fans. It’s a not cool or casual romance; it’s a die hard, star crossed lovers’ devotion. The affection can be traced to front man Colin Meloy’s warm stage banter “every song must be introduced,” and the call and response/sing a long love fest that every show of theirs ultimately becomes. A big draw is also the fantasy, swash buckler tales of lives so far removed from our modern dilemmas, yet somehow still as immediate (strong song writing plays a huge part here). And then, there’s the underlying melancholy of the music that is an essential ingredient for any love as strong as their fans’.
The Portland based band went through their catalog, and fans would behave like little kids when their favorite song would come on, dancing wildly with glee as they tugge on the person that they were with. Couples would break out in slow dances, facing each other and not he stage. Meloy called for the crowd to put their arms around each other and sway back and forth. He noted that the Bay Area crowd was much more eager to embrace each other than any other crowd, and commented on the beautiful beaming faces in the audience. He added that the Bay was their home away from home, and that for all its beauty, there is a dark underbelly to it. To a degree, it felt a bit like puffing, but the crowd ate it up. The call and response got a little embarrassing when Meloy was yelling out Barak Obama’s “Yes we can”! And the audience responded with “Yes we did!”
The standout tracks were “Victoria Plume” from the new singles collection Always a Bridesmaid (get it?), which Meloy introduced as a parting shot to the Bush administration. “16 Millitary Wives” had the crowd dancing as did “O’ Valencia!” Missing were some behemoth tracks from The Crain Wife and Picaresque, but the band replaced them with some solid jam sessions that the fans loved.
- Review submitted by Jeff Bracco.