Monday, May 12, 2008

Elbow at the Avalon

Elbow delivered a knock-out show on Friday night (May 9) at the Avalon, Hollywood.
Taking the stage at 9PM sharp, the curtain rose on a foggy purple glow, as the first twittering, liquid notes of "Starlings" were heard and the two, swaying, back-up singer/violinists began their swooning vocals. The band strode on stage all carrying trumpets and, at once, you realized how they get that magnificent blast of noise that puctuates the song that begins their new CD "The Seldom Seen Kid". With that they raised the audience off-earth where they kept us for a full ninety minutes. I don't know about the rest of the crowd but I remained airborne until sometime the next day.
They sang almost all the best songs from their superb new CD reaching a real audio/visual highlight during "Mirrorball" with the fog and mirrorball and strings as we became lost in a swirl of lights and melody. It was mind-blowing - and what a beautiful song! "Grounds for Divorce" is a great rocker and in "The Loneliness of the Tower Crane Driver", when the music builds to that huge cacophony punctured by Guy's wailing vocal, the audience went wild.
Guy Garvey makes such a strong connection to his audience, he actually seems to spend time focusing on each face in the audience and making eye contact, like he really wants to see who the people are that make up his audience. I noticed this also two years ago when I saw them for the first time, and that's rare.
From "Leaders of the Free World" CD they performed the title song, "The Stops", "Forget Myself"...all perfect. They had the audience performing the hand claps in "Mexican Standoff" and trained us to sing the chorus from their new powerhouse anthem "One Day Like This", allowing us to carry the melody freeing Guy to let his voice soar above us. Beautiful!
I wish the Avalon had more concerts of this calibre and in this genre because that place can absolutely fill up, as it did on Friday, but remain so open and airy you never feel closed in, and I was right down front, maybe 6 people deep from center stage. The audience was the kind that makes you proud of Los Angeles, completely enthralled by the band.
Guy directed the audience in a rendition of "Happy Birthday" so his drummer could record it for his son, Dylan. Then, being the last night of this current tour, he directed some well deserved applause toward his sound engineer and lighting technician, both outstanding jobs. He even gave a shout-out to The Watson Twins who were somewhere in the audience.
I missed most of opener Air Traffic so I couldn't judge.
Can't help but gush a bit over this one, but it really was one special night!


No comments: