Kevin Winter, Getty Images T.I. and Lil Wayne are teaming up once again, only this…
- Posted on May 26th 2009 10:00AM by Jason Cohen
The Decemberists are from Portland, but since Meloy is a Montana native (and a University of Montana alum), they get a local hero's welcome in Missoula, where the band sold out the Wilma Theatre Sunday, the fifth night of the Hazards of Love tour.
"Looking at all of your bright faces ... Missoula's exponentially more attractive than when I lived here," Meloy told the singalong-minded often-shrieking crowd, while treating them to a second set laced with old favorites like 'Apology Song' (with its reference to local grocery store Orange Street Food Farm), 'The Chimbley Sweep' and 'Save Yourself' (originally by Meloy's college-era band Tarkio).
The band also played 'Sleepless' from the charity album 'Dark Was the Night' and showcased My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden and Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark ("We call them 'the Diamonds,'" Meloy said) on, respectively, 'Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)' and a cover of the Louvin Brothers' 'If I Could Only Win Your Love.'
The first set, of course, consisted of the new album 'The Hazards of Love' played in its entirety, with no pauses between songs or even introductory banter. Meloy's prog-folk hard rock opera translates to the stage in furious, high-volume fashion, with the sashaying, white-clad, sweet-voiced Stark as the romantic heroine Margaret, and the sinister and slinky, black-clad Worden as the Forest Queen. Part Grace Slick, part Tina Turner in 'Tommy,' Worden stole the show with her belter's voice and active stage presence. "The Diamonds" also pitched in on guitar, keyboard and even drums, joining keyboardist Jenny Conley and guitarist Chris Funk on floor toms -- that's right, five drummers -- for an especially memorable 'The Rake's Song.'
Taking in the faded elegance of the 1,063-seat Wilma, Meloy noted that it was "a nice change from the old Ritz," one of the venues that he used to play in college, "where if you paid $5 more than the cover charge you could drink for free all night long."
The night concluded with another oldie, 'Cautionary Song' from 'Castaways and Cutouts,' broken up by a "skit" reenacting the Lewis and Clark expedition, with drummer John Moen (Lewis), Stark (Clark), Worden (Sacajawea) and Funk (Lewis's dog Seaman, though Meloy needed the fans to help him with the name) mingling in the audience.
The 'Hazards of Love' tour continues well into the summer, with dates in Denver, Kansas City and Milwaukee this week. The Decemberists are also set to play Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.