Saturday night was the Decemberists show at the amphitheater. It was a breath of fresh air, for the following reasons:
1) after a blazing hot, steamy afternoon in Dorton Arena, standing in downtown Raleigh in a gentle rain was a gift from above. (Is it just me, or is it crazy that Raleigh is the kind of place where, in June, you can swelter indoors during the afternoon, and then get chilled outdoors in the evening? )
2) The Decemberists are all over the place, musically, and I think that’s great. I downloaded about a dozen songs before the show, and when I was listening to them on ITunes, had to check several times to make sure it wasn’t three or four different bands. I like it. But I feel like I need to do some more homework, as there are concept albums and fifteen-minute story songs about whales to be researched. They closed with my favorite.
3) The front man of this band is funny. At one point he egged the audience on into disconnecting the temporary chairs and lifting them overhead. “Do something creative with your chair,” he instructed. As a former school teacher, I was horrified at the mayhem. But it was still funny. He also ended up in the audience for a prolonged stint, doing self-photographs with fans and passing his guitar around so people could jam with the band. Kind of. It was pretty entertaining.
4) It was Handsome Man night at the amphitheater. Most of them were wrapped around their wives and girlfriends, but I will say for the record that we stumbled upon an unexpected pocket of adorable men who seemed to be intelligent, kindhearted, and poetic. They are probably all dog people and play bluegrass instruments and are nice to their mothers. Apparently, this is where they’ve been hiding. They are all Decemberists fans. Round of applause, for the gentlemen of Raleigh.
5) Sarah Watkins of Nickel Creek was there filling in on fiddle and vocals. She was great. She was there because Jenny Conlee is out undergoing treatment for breast cancer, so thoughts and prayers go out to her for a quick recovery. The band sent her out some love, and was selling buttons as a fund raiser for cancer research. I happened to be there with my friend Willow, who is a breast cancer survivor. She let me take a picture of her pink ribbon, and then I realized it could look a little awkward when I posted it, so I told her I would crop out anything that looked too breast-y.
But, damn it, this girl has earned those breasts, and so has anyone else who has fought that fight. So I’m showing hers off. Looking good, friend. Well done and stand strong.