More on Rock the Garden

Posted on June 21st, 2009 – 2:33 PM
By Chris Riemenschneider

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Click here to read the review for tomorrow’s print edition. And be sure to check out the fun photo gallery from the concert. It doesn’t really make sense to run the bands’ set lists like we usually do, since the Decemberists played their new album in order, and Yeasayer and Solid Gold essentially played their one record. Here’s a little more thought on the matter, though.

More on the Decemberists: The high points were essentially every time Shara Worden was on stage, plus the new album/opera’s climactic finale was a real kick. After that, they were only able to squeeze in five more songs, in large part because Colin Meloy spent about five minutes breaking the audience up into “quadrants” (his word) for a four-part singaling during “Billy Liar.” The encore started with “Leslie Anne Levine” (blah!), ended with Heart’s “Crazy on You” (yeah!!) and included “The Engine Driver” and “O Valencia.” 

Calexico: It took the adventurous Tucson ensemble a little while to get going after it opened with the somewhat tepid ”Ballad of Cable Hogue” and “Bend to the Road.” The Minutemen cover was killer, though, and then things really got going mid-set with the pedal-steel led instrumental. Other highlights from there included the stormy “Two Silver Trees,” the gorgeous and lilting ”Sunken Waltz,” ”Alone Again Or” and the nearly orchestral finale “The Crystal Frontier.”  

Funniest comment on stage by a Current DJ: Jill Riley covering for a Steve Seel slip-up before the Decemberists by saying, ”He forgot because he just got blasted with a big cloud of weed.”

Funniest comments off stage by a Current DJ off-stage: Mary Lucia marveling over the fact that a Walker volunteer scolded her for smoking in the vicinity of an outdoor sculpture in the VIP area.

Biggest disappointment: The fact that this could be the first and last time live music is offered on that hill next to the Walker, which otherwise could be the bigger amphitheater the Twin Cities so sorely lacks (meanwhile, the already palacial Orchestra Hall gets a $40 million facelift?!). Not only does the Walker plan to expand the sculpture garden, the neighbors who paid a cool $1 mil or thereabouts for their balcony-wrapped condos around that hill would no doubt have something to say about any idea for more regular music there.

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