March 14, 2012
I was really excited to hear that Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were playing locally at The Observatory since I missed them a couple of years back when they played The Grove in Anaheim. They've toured since, but something has always made it impossible for me to attend one of their shows. Even this show, if I had to buy tickets, sold out way in advance and people were scavenging to find tickets up until after doors had already opened.
The show started late, somewhere around 9 p.m. and the crowd was getting a little anxious. That all changed once opener Nicole Simone hit the stage and nearly knocked the crowd on their asses with her soulful tunes that were reminiscent of something you would hear while traveling the streets of New Orleans or possibly hear during the closing credits of an episode of Boardwalk Empire. Accompanied by members of Edward Sharpe, the set seemed to fly by with the crowd cheering louder and louder after every song. During the breaks in the set, the singer would thank the headliner for bringing her on tour, but she did so in such a sedate way that you thought she was going to fall asleep mid sentence, but then would turn around and belt out lyrics like her life depended on it. She definitely made some new fans during her set, including myself.
Once Simone finished her final song, it was just a few moments before the headliner took the stage. The high energy set kicked off with "40 Day Dream" that sent the fans into a frenzy. Though the audience definitely skewed younger, they held their own and made it a point to croon along whenever given the opportunity. With the amount of collaborative singing and dancing going on, the show seemed more like a Gospel revival than a rock show at times with the crowd only settling down temporarily when the band introduced new material off their upcoming album (which we learned from Alex himself, will be a double album). The new songs were received well and just that small taste excited me for the upcoming release.
If you weren't an Edward Sharpe fan before, you definitely left as one. The group not only interacted with their fans on a level that I've personally never seen before, but it seemed as if they tried to touch each and every one of them (literally) via hugs, handshakes and high fives. I would say that singer spent just as much time in the crowd performing as he did on stage, and the crowd ate up every moment of it. They would probably still be playing now if the venue didn't tell them that they were close to curfew and that the show needed to come to a close.
The night ended with the crowd enthusiasm reaching new heights during the song "Home" where the kids overtook the stage to sing along and dance with their favorite band of the evening. With only one security guard stationed on stage to control the chaos, he seemed to give up and just let it happen once he realized he was grossly outnumbered. As the song progressed, so did the amount of people that made it up. The band kept going as the roadies panicked and tried to protect the expensive instruments and gear that the fans were using as stepping-stones. It could have been worse, but it seems like everyone was having a good time and people were respecting their surroundings. There were so many people on stage, the band almost looked worried that something bad was about to happen- but it didn't.
The stage was cleared off peacefully; the band said their final goodbyes and the attendees left claiming "it was the best show of their lives!" I'm pretty sure they were the kids that made it on stage. Though I liked the band before going in, I definitely left with a new respect of them as performers for they definitely made sure you got your moneys worth in the course of the evening.
I think that Jade Castrinos is absolutely adorable.
Overheard in the Crowd:
The lighting in here makes it so hard to take pictures of us with my phone. (insert sad face)
Random notebook dump:
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There was a little girl with a Fisher Price tambourine in the audience who played along throughout the whole set. Alex brought her on stage to shake a real one, but she preferred her plastic one. It was a cool moment.
There was no setlist. The group was asking the audience what they wanted to hear and then played a few new hits here and there.