The Decemberists came, they saw and they conquered Thursday night at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium.
The band split their show into two sets playing their entire new album The Hazards of Love first. Each song flowed seamlessly into the next, even with frequent instrument changes. Singers Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond) and Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond) joined the band for the tour and delivered great performances, both musical and theatrical of the characters the represent in the album's story. Stark as Margaret was a quieter, angelic singer while Worden as the Queen belted out her vocals and thrashed about on the stage. It was a sight to see.
The crowd was attentive, yet subdued for the first set, but that all changed when the band came back from intermission. Singer Colin Meloy told the crowd to move the chairs from the orchestra pit and move up front. The crowd wasted no time and raced and pushed their way into the small pit. The band launched into a series of songs from their catalog including crowd favorites "O Valencia," "We Both Go Down Together" and a excellent, rocking cover of Heart's "Crazy On You" with Stark and Worden trading off on vocals.
During the jaunty tune "The Chimbley Sweep" from the band's 2003 album Her Majesty, Colin Meloy and Chris Funk squared off on opposite ends of the stage for a guitar duel. They pulled a girl and a boy on the stage to take their places and they both played guitar with the band. Colin pulled a woman on stage and they danced around the stage. Moments later, Colin leaped into the pit for a brief crowd surf. Needless to say, the second set was a big party.
I liked The Decemberists before the show, but wasn't a huge fan, but they put on a hell of a show which flew by. It was a fun night which didn't seem like two hours at all.
Portland, OR band Blind Pilot opened the show with a great set of melodic, folksy tunes. The band played a set of tunes from their debut album 3 Rounds and a Sound including the title track, "I Buried a Bone" and "Go On, Say It." The band closed their short set with a raucous unreleased tune with pounding drums called "We Are the Tide."
[all photos by Kevin Norris]
The Hazards of Love (set 1):
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)
Leslie Anne Levine
The Bachelor and the Bride
We Both Go Down Together
Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
The Chimbley Sweep
Crazy On You (Heart cover)
Eli, the Barrow Boy
Sons & Daughters