Thursday, April 09, 2009
there will be snacks
Last night I saw Andrew Bird perform at the Michigan Theater, and thus I got to cross another thing off of my "things I must see before I die" list. I had heard that he was amazing live and so had prepared myself to be impressed, but I ended up being BLOWN AWAY by his live show. I took Mom and Dad with me, and Dad remarked that it was one of the more interesting shows he had been to (a complement) and that Bird was "Dylanesque" in the way that he reworked and rebuilt some of his standard songs - performing something that sounded like, at best, a close cousin to the original album track. (And since, unlike me, dad has actually seen Dylan in his heyday, I will trust that the comparison is apt.)

But besides the way he rearranged his own songs (which, to me, sounded pretty good to begin with, but transcendent after they were rebuilt), his performance technique of making live recordings of violin runs or snatches of whistling which he would then play on a loop while layering vocals and guitars and glockenspiel runs and different violin runs and more whistling on top of if all was what made the experience so exciting. Watching Bird perform live is like watching a painter make art from a blank canvas - one can't help but feel as if you're watching a truly gifted artist at work.

Anyway, although his performance of "Tables and Chairs" is uncharacteristically simple and straightforward, and thus not really the best song to illustrate anything I've just said, it was one of the highlights of the evening for me. It's an older song but has always been one of my favorites, and the way he sings so earnestly about Heaven - describing it as a place with pony rides and dancing bears and a wide assortment of snacks - never fails to make me break out into a big, goofy grin. I like it. I hope you like it too.



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