A blog devoted to the works of Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, The Gothic Archies, et al. This blog will feature news related to his work, as well as occasional fanboy gushes from the author. Thank you for stopping by, and may all your dreams come true.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Show Summary

So, I spent the last three nights of my life watching The Magnetic Fields play live, twice in Chicago and once in Iowa City.  If you have yet to see them on this tour and the opportunity presents itself to do so in the future, I highly suggest you do so.  While the changes in this year's lineup (Ms. Simms on ukulele, Mr. Merritt on harmonium and melodica) may seem insignificant, it changes their sound a lot more than one might expect and they sound fantastic.  The set list is also unreasonably good, chronicling The Magnetic Fields' entire career, although there is a particular emphasis on 69 Love Songs and Love at the Bottom of the Sea, to be fair.  That being said, the highlight of the set by far is "Swinging London," which sounds so goddamn lush and full and beautiful that my jaw literally held agape every time I saw them play it.

If ever the band were to record a live album (which I know as well as anyone is a probable impossibility), then it should be on this tour.  The set list is conducive to one and they sound really powerful live.  It makes me sad that I will not have the opportunity to see them play again this year.  Let me live vicariously through you, gentle reader!  Go see this band!

Also, to all the blog-readers who said hello, it was a pleasure meeting you.  One couldn't ask for a kinder, more devoted audience.

I hope you're all following the marvelous tour blog this year, otherwise you're missing out on things like the Shirley-Simms-penned "Hookers and Blow."  Also, the lovely Ms. Emma Straub has started a secondary tour blog for The Paris Review, with the words:pictures ratio decidedly flipped.  It's as entertaining as its partner, though, and can be found here.

11 comments:

  1. great review; you're so in love; the album is such good chaos.
    Hey! how's the sound? the past shows have been becoming increasingly softer [to the point where i'm straining to hear]... i don't have a ticket to a show yet, but with the lineup change i am piqued.

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  2. Thanks for the kind words, but even I am reluctant to call this a review. In love, though, yes, that's a fitting term, I think.

    They sound really great, but to be fair, I was in the front every show I saw. The first night in Chicago, they started with "I Die," and I thought it was a tad quiet (quieter, in fact, than one might imagine "I Die" should be), but the sound engineer cranked the volume to a reasonable level and there were no issues on any of the shows after that. Of course my suggestion is to try to go see them, but you could always watch some of the videos on Youtube and determine whether or not it'll be loud enough based on the scant information provided there.

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  3. ohhhh youtube. thank you. i don't mind quiet, but i do want to hear!

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  4. I'm so looking forward to seeing them 5 times in Europe!

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  5. Mr. Y-M, that's so awesome! You'll have a blast, they really do sound great.

    And, Ms. Simms said hi, by the way, and called you a wonderful person. High praise, I'd say.

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  6. To put it simply, Wednesday was wonderful.

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  7. Mr. Anderson, of the three shows I saw, you definitely saw the best one. I'm so glad you were able to see them, and so glad you enjoyed it so much. They're wonderful.

    Any favorites? Like I said, "Swinging London" really sounded best to me, but I also can't get the live version of "Your Girlfriend's Face" out of my head. Luckily, there are tons of videos on Youtube of the latter, but nothing doing on the former quite yet.

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  8. Smoke and Mirrors was really great. Something about the electronic instrument that he was playing during that was subtle and very nice. Swinging London was amazing as well, yeah.

    Also, was Kelly Hogan playing the hand-trumpet what you were talking about before the concert?

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  9. Nah, it was her singing "Papa Was a Rodeo," though it was infinitely less cool in Iowa than it was in Chicago. In Chicago, the entire crowd sang along with the entire song and it was a really cool, really beautiful moment.

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  10. was the setlist the same for both Chicago shows?

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  11. Yeah, they're just doing the one set list for this tour. You can find it at Setlist.fm.

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