Unfortunately for all of you I didn't bother to pay close attention to the setlist, which was apparently identical between the two shows. I'm sure Michele will have it up soon, if no one else. It was very similar to the other recent shows; the opener was Augustine and Alex's token song was Are You Listening.
So instead, I'll just share some random impressions from the late show (the only one I went to):
- In the opening for Landsailor, Vienna was playing "all of humanity" as usual ("not pretentious at all"); Aaron, "capitalism and technology" (*AL gives low thumbs up* VT: "also not pretentious"); Alex, the steady march of progress, the locomotor of...something (AW: "...with my steam-based drum kit over here."); and Jordan, the green hills and valleys and the...food web (JH: "Yeah, I've heard people say that about my guitar. 'I'm getting a real food web vibe!'"). Audience is laughing; VT: "Guys, this is a serious song!"; more laughs.
- The Downton Abbey joke continues. Tonight Alex was in charge of making sure there was a proper segue from Downton Abbey into several different songs—I think it started with The Breaking Light, and continued with Are You Listening and IIRC Antebellum (the "Mullebetna" version with the guitar and piano lines purportedly swapped). It also got the group to break into random British accents at times.
- In that vein... VT (paraphrasing): "I have this fantasy of, like, Maggie Smith, as this high-class British matron, but saying like really nerdy music things. 'I can't believe they would use a Hammond on that track.'" (later) AW: "I'm still thinking of Maggie Smith saying, 'That, that was a dope beat.'"
- COPENHAGEN SPOILER. I haven't seen this anywhere else yet, but it will irrevocably change the way you listen to Copenhagen.
As Vienna explained, Copenhagen was one of the songs where the music came first, so in order to get the lyrics, she set herself two challenges. The first, obviously, was to talk about climate change negotiations. The second was to use as many keys on a computer keyboard as possible. (highlight the text to see it.)
I'm calling this "the Fed-Ex arrow of Vienna Teng". (Perhaps this is what katar was referring to at the LA show? That's certainly why it's on my mind.)
- Both Hymn of Acxiom and Copenhagen were a bit more legato than they have been on tour (closer to the album versions), which is the way I like them.
- The very final finish of Copenhagen went awry tonight, the first time I've seen that. But the audience didn't seem to care; they loved it anyway.
- Since Aims is more produced than previous albums, a lot of my focus went towards watching them make the sounds (usually I try to pay more attention to the audio). I love Alex's pitched drum pads and the perennial waterphone, Jordan's ethereal guitar (even without the thread!) and clarinet, and Vienna's voice and piano, when she's free to add new stuff in on top of the existing arrangement. Sometimes it's just a note, a single piano key, that makes the arrangement fresh again.
Of course, it was also great to hear the songs whose tour arrangements felt very different from the album versions, like Blue Caravan (the JH guitar incarnation) and the epic In the 99.
- Goodnight New York is really nice live. It's just VT playing guitar with AW and JH singing harmony.
Even though I was with my own group for the show itself, I got to chat afterwards with Noreen (who was working merch), catch up with sketch artist James (don't know if he has a username here), and briefly say hi to Erik and Michele. So that was cool too...see you all next time!