It was kind of funny, but I think even the genuine Mesans in the crowd would not self-identify that way, not because it’s not accurate, but because—well—Mesa’s kind of lame. Sorry Mesa. But you know it’s true! What were you thinking back in the 70s, with all the slump block strip malls? I will say this: you have a nice arts center. And you have bigger rabbits than Tucson. S and I went to see his grandfather a few months ago and observed jackrabbits twice the size of housecats ambling through his community. Those things were fearsome; too big to hop properly, I hope. Honestly, it looked like they could clear rooftops if they had a good reason.
Anyhoo. The Decemberists: great show. Some Tucson people self-identified early on and Colin Meloy asked after Café Poca Cosa, which was delightful. They did a lot of songs from the new album, but also some of my favorites from Picaresque. At the end of We Both Go Down Together, we the audience were instructed to make woo-type sounds and hold our arms aloft, while CM wrapped it up with a bit of Morrissey (Angel Angel Down We Go Together off Viva Hate), which I know not because I am myself a rabid Moz fan but because S is and he pointed it out to me.
This was kind of funny, because earlier in the evening, 2/3 of Nickel Creek opened the show and covered The More You Ignore Me. It sounded good, but I thought it was a strange selection from Le Moz Catalog. I had a snotty moment and suggested that it was the kind of selection that only a casual fan would make. S agreed, and said that the real fan would choose some obscure thing off, like, Viva Hate. …so there you go.
The highlight of the show for me was definitely the participatory rendition of The Mariner’s Revenge Song. This would have been a fitting send-off, but such was the audience’s enthusiasm that The Decemberists returned for a second encore, leaving us on a more thoughtful and reflective song (June Hymn from the new one).
We walked out at 10:30, plenty of time to drive back to Tucson and actually appear at work the next day, as if we had never been gone. The way this schedule jibed with my workday, and the way that we were in comfortable, assigned theatre seats for the show just killed me. It was like a concert for the olds, of which I’m apparently one. I mean, I’m fine standing around in a crowded dark venue for a ten buck show, but this was great. Since I’m already showing my age, I’ll fess up further and say that we actually stayed overnight so we could hit Ikea on the way out of town.