Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Polyphonic Spree Take Over the World

Last night, I experienced one of the best live performances I have ever seen, and that's saying quite a bit as I've been to close to 150 concerts in my life. To truly understand what was witnessed, you really must see The Polyphonic Spree yourself, but I will do what I can to make you understand. If you thought Bright Eyes or !!! had a lot of guys in their bands, you haven't seen anything yet, 10-15 band members, BAH, I spit in their general direction, try 25. Yes, you read that right, 25 band members all on stage at once, they include, a guitarist, a bassist, two drummers, an effects programmer, two keyboardists, a four piece horn section including trumpet, trombone, flute and french horn, a harpist, a violinist, a theramin player, a nine member choir, and singer/director Tim DeLaughter (I think I'm forgetting someone), all wearing different brightly colored robes, who combine to create a concert experience unlike any other. Their music has roots in the sound of the Flaming Lips, but with a thicker sound and a bit of gospel thrown in there for good measure. The took the stage one by one in line, slowly making their way to their respective places on the stage, and from the first notes, we all knew we were in for something special. The choir began pumping their fists to the beat, sound was coming from every direction at once, and they all seemed so ecstatic to be there. From that moment on, a smile was permanently etched onto my face and there was nothing I could do to get rid of it, save for running out of the venue. For the next hour and a half, Tim DeLaughter led his collective through songs about love and the sun while a banner hung behind them with one simple word emblazoned upon it in huge letters, "HOPE." There is just an amazing power that comes with 25 people all singing, dancing and having an extremely good time together on stage. I was sucked in from the very start, and I would have done anything that DeLaughter told me to do (hey, now I know how cults work). Before the encore, I was standing, cheering at the empty stage, when I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around expecting to see some guy trying to push his way to the front, but instead, to my surprise, I found a man with long curly hair in an orange robe leading a procession of 24 others to the stage for the encore. I cheered until my voice wouldn't let me cheer anymore as they slowly made their way past me, and onto the stage. Their closing numbers, "Soldier Girl" and their biggest hit "Light and Day/Reach for the Sun" sent the crowd into a frenzy, which was taken to the next level when DeLaughter casually mentioned that the performance had been taped for a possible DVD. After singing happy birthday to the theramin player (that's a lot of birthdays to remember), they exited the stage, but the crowd was not ready to leave quite yet. They cheered and cheered, but to no avail, as the house lights came up, and everyone began to file out of the show, truly feeling like they'd just experienced something amazing. On the walk to the car, Matt Brophy and I had to give each other a hug, it just seemed like the natural thing to do.


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