Much earlier, over the summer, Audrey and I got tickets to see The Decemberists, who were going to be playing at the Fox theatre. We were notified of the tickets in an email from Ticketmaster, which knew we were in Atlanta, and knew that we liked The Decemberists. Unfortunately for us, the particular theatre being advertised was the Fox in Oakland, California, not the Fox here. Fortunately for us, The Decemberists were playing in Georgia this past weekend. Not in Atlanta, mind you, but in Athens.
So, we got a couple of good friends together and decided it was time for a road trip. There was some sort of massive sporting event taking place at Georgia Tech that Saturday, making transportation around the area rather difficult. The weather was also rather nasty, with a intermittent light rain that lasted throughout the early afternoon. After getting coffee for the road, we set out and made it to the highway. Immediately thereafter, the light rain turned into a downpour, and we plodded along the normally very busy interstate 85 at 45 miles per hour as waves of water poured over the car. Despite this, the car ride went smoothly and we arrived in Athens around 7:00. We were surprised by the amount of traffic, and also by numerous banners with very particular coloring. As it turns out, there was yet another massive sporting event taking place in Athens. Parked cars lined the roads as every available space accessible from the road was occupied by large SUVs and minivans. We faced a difficult parking situation. The venue itself was full, so our options seemed to be finding a parking spot some some great distance away in an unfamiliar residential neighborhood, or alternately forking out the exorbitant $40 for a parking lot. Instead we decided to drive around and find dinner.
Dinner worked out without too much hassle, and we miraculously found a lone parking spot for the duration of the meal. When we returned, there were parking openings in the venue at a convenient $5. So we went in and got ready for the show. This was another numbered-seating show, so I am reminded of the Death Cab show earlier in the spring. We started off having seats in the top row of the theatre, which had a good view, but was so far back. After seeing that the seats at the side (which I guess are the box seats) were unoccupied, we stealthily maneuvered over and took them, hoping that no one else would come by and kick us out. Fortunately, that never happened, so we had a great view of the performance. The opening act was Laura Veirs. Her songs had a folksy-but-ominous feel, and the spelunking song was particularly delectable. Afterwards, The Decemberists came on and played the set from The Hazards of Love, which was strung together to create a solid but continuous performance. Having read more about the album afterwards, it is a single continuous story, almost operatic in nature. Each of the songs linked into the next, and there was nary a pause between them. They played Audrey’s favorite, “The Rake’s Song” and recurred with powerful performances of “The Wanting Comes in Waves”. What was impressive about this was not just the seamless integration of the songs, but this compounded with a surprising diversity of styles and genres in the songs themselves.
Once they finished the Hazards of Love set, they came back and played something more like an ordinary set. The band seemed to loosen up after this, did a few rounds of call and response songs, and concluded before the encore with a surprise cover of “Crazy On You.” When all was done, we wandered over to the green room and milled about waiting for any of the band members to drift out. This was Hank’s idea, as he is used to visiting green rooms, but none of the rest of us had done anything like that before. There was very little in the means of security, so we just moseyed on over there. We didn’t see Colin, but we did see a few of the other members, and we talked to the organist and acordionist Jenny Conlee for a little while, which was fun. When we finally filed out it was around 1:00, and we got on the road to go back home.