Monday, November 2, 2009

Bird is the Word

Andrew Bird played the final show of his world tour here in Washington DC last Wednesday night. Contributing writer, Livy Traczyk, was there for the surprisingly emotional event.

St Vincent opened Wednesday night for Andrew Bird at the 9:30 Club and stopped mid-performance to discuss the “Separation Anxiety” she was feeling about parting ways with The Birdman. Who could blame her? What woman (or man) wouldn’t be remiss about ending a tour with a guy who whistles so naturally you think perhaps he is just breathing musical air and who kicks off sparkling, glitter clogs to play on stage in grey socks? Anyone who has ever seen Andrew Bird on stage is familiar with the candidly awkward personality he exudes and the way it magically amplifies his talent as a musician – skills that are anything but awkward.

It is perhaps his colloquial sense of ease at plucking the violin, guitar and mandolin strings, and the long and nuanced whistles he loops into a harmonic symphony that is perhaps the most mesmerizing for Andrew Bird fans. While his sound was, as it is commonly referred to, “dark” and “plummeting,” those at the Wednesday concert couldn’t help but feel the foreboding pulse that flowed through the auditorium and the soft undertones of the clarinet and saxophone that plummeted at the climaxes of songs that everyone in the room seemed familiar with. Andrew Bird played a balanced mix of songs from all of his albums, pleasing the crowd by playing several hit songs like “Fitz and the Dizzyspells” and “Anominal” from his newest album, Noble Beast. He was unable to escape the DC crowd without first finishing songs from his 2007 album, Armchair Apocrypha, like “Imitosis.” He also performed several special songs with (and for) lead singer of St. Vincent, Annie Clark; one of the most memorable was the duet cover of Bob Dylan’s “Oh Sister.”

If I learned anything from going to this show it is that the last performance of any tour is sure to be rich with emotion and musical force. Energy flowed from the stage and we all felt the way one does when they know something great is coming to an end and nothing can be done but to love the moment fiercely and with intentionality. Those in attendance at the 9:30 Club experienced this intensity at various times throughout the night, one being a rare and special moment when Andrew Bird brought his band members back on stage to sing a cover of Charley Patton’s “I’m Goin’ Home,” as a soft melodic goodbye to Clark. By the end of the night, I think we were all sharing St. Vincent’s separation anxiety as DC said goodbye to Andrew Bird.

-Livy Traczyk

Set List
4.Opposite Day
5.A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left
6.Fitz and the Dizzyspells
8.On Ho!
9.Oh No
12.You Woke Me Up!
15.Lusitania w/ Annie Clark
16.Scythian Empires w/ St. Vincent
17.Tables and Chairs
18.Oh Sister (Solo Bird/Clark) (Bob Dylan cover)
19.Prayer of Death (w/ Annie Clark)
20.I'm Going Home (Charley Patton cover)
Encore 2:
21.Don't Be Scared (The Handsome Family cover)
22.Fake Palindromes

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