Sometimes, when the weather's halfway between breezy and hot, nothing is quite as perfect as reading outdoors. Sometimes, when you've got no park or grass to sit on, you do it next to a big metal power box outside the Capitol Theatre waiting for Colin Meloy to walk from his bus to the backdoor. I flipped through Heimeto Von Doderer's The Demons, volume II, as the sun went down. People walked past, cars drove by, Herr von Geyrenhoff called on Charlotte von Shlaggenberg, devil knows if she'll show, she's always late. Colin Meloy never showed up, but, I didn't mind so much. I went round front, ate crepes and coffee, met some nervous fanboys, and then walked in the front door of the capitol to watch Colin Meloy play an acoustic show. The capitol is a beautiful space (a little like the Palace in new york, but smaller and with the ambience of the Academy of Music) and reading The Demons under the balcony just felt right. The music he chose before hand is not unlike the music I'd have chosen were I in his shoes; The acoustic version of The Game by Echo & The Bunnymen, Pink Bullets by the Shins, Morrissey, british folk, etc. Rarely have I ever gotten this sensation, that the performer and I were just on the same wavelength. I felt like I knew him, like my friend Sebastian was about to take the stage, and this didn't change much when he finally stepped out.
Laura Gibson came on first and thats about when the absolute perfection of the evening made itself apparent. Laura Gibson stood, like a china doll, in a perfect white dress, her arms out at the same angle holding her guitar, which she played oh so slightly and sang like a less jazzy Regina Spektor. She looked like she belonged: here, on stage at the capitol, opening for the round faced Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. The evening was like I picture the childhood memories of Dicken's characters to be; picturesque, perfectly shaped, beset by warm feelings. No amount of thought or money could possibly reproduce the way that the evening felt; you could try, but you would fail, somethings are meant to be perfect one time for everybody. If you don't go looking for it, you might never find it. She did a cover of an old blues song that was spot-on, perfect.
Colin Meloy was a little less enthusiastic than when you hear him on his live record or the last time I saw him with the Decemberists. The touring has gotten to him, but not enough for him to not have a good time; this is the job he's chosen for himself after all. He wears Portland hipster chic; a button down plaid shirt, a sort of train-conductor's beret, and a pair of shiny jeans. His guitars are things to be envied; a beautiful battered Gibson twelve string, his Martin nylon string, and a designer guitar with words etched into the neck I didn't recognize. They all sound clear as a bell and compliment his voice, which does more of the same. His songs are wonderful and he likes a fair share of audience participation; the crowd is only too happy to oblige. The guitar solo in Perfect Crime 2, the organ in Red Right Ankle, and finally the mother's voice in Mariner's Revenge Song all became full-voiced wails of admiration. It's funny that sometimes you can see someone perform, not having listened to their music in a while, or having a few songs in your dream-setlist. He or she might not play them, but they will play a song you weren't expecting that ignites your love for their music, and music in general. His versions of Shiny and Of Angels And Angles were outstanding and soft and beautiful. Those were the songs I paid my money for; they were awesome. I wasn't really thinking about it, but when I heard the opening chords to A Cautionary Song, I got really happy, it might have been the perfect rendition. That night, Tuesday the 15th of April, might not have been perfect, but it's as close as I've come recently.