I’m not usually one for reviews, but after the concert I just watched – I feel like the world should know a few things.
First – Alexander Ebert is a musical raconteur. Everything from the effortless open, to the walk through the crowd, to the Total Request Live style playlist, to the New Orleans vibe second line farewell made me (and the entire crowd in Prospect Park) fawn over him. I went wanting to dance; I left wanting to be his best friend.
Many of the recent concerts I’ve attended have been filled with far too much production, but not Edward Sharpe. The show didn’t feel as though I was watching a marketing ploy, or witnessing a hipster trend. It felt as though I was meeting someone, and that someone just happened to be a musical genius. I enjoy an eclectic mix of music, so I’ve seen a strange array of shows (ie: rap, punk, pop, jazz, indie… the list goes on). I’m a sucker for a full band and packed stage – so there’s rarely a show I don’t enjoy. However, there are very few I leave thinking:
HOW? HOW?! ARE THEY EVEN HUMAN?
Paolo Nutini and Radiohead were my standing favs, but Alex just pushed his sexy, hair-bunned self somewhere on the top.
From the start, I could tell this show was going to be more like a jam sesh in a friend’s basement – and I was totally down. The show seemed to gradually bloom into activeness. There was no announcement, no crazy chanting, not even a burst from the side curtain. The band just simply wandered out on stage. Nothing was hurried, there were no feelings of agendas or time restraints. It just flowed. For a while, I wasn’t even sure Alex was on stage. I thought I saw his infamous white jacket swinging about, but the fumes from the girl’s Mary Jane in front of me made me worried I had things confused.
The show, while obviously deserving full attention on the band and lead, seemed to focus more on the group and experience as a whole. Throughout the entire show, I felt as though I was VIP. The camera for the JumboTron in the backdrop was positioned from the back of the stage, and showed the crowd through a distorted fish lens that looked as though it was filter with the Lark Insta setting (my go to). It was as if we were watching the show through the band’s eyes – like we got to be a more significant aspect than the typical singer vs. crowd set. At one point, Alex sat on the corner of the stage and let other band members perform songs from their personal collections. He asked the lighting crew to turn the spot light off, and coolly mentioned that this show “wasn’t about him”. The reaction from the crowd must have made him question his significance, as he quickly followed with a laugh and hesitated, “Well, I guess it is.”
Still, despite the realization that Alex Ebert is the real focus, the entire show felt like it was about us – the crowd. He did some typical crowd interactions like grabbing cameras for selfies, but even that wasn’t on the same basic bitch level as most concerts. After a few hand shakes, sing-a-longs, open mic moments and selfies, Alex did the unthinkable. At least for my mind. He jump off the stage and made his way to the very back rows. I was seated somewhere near the front – so I was instantly frustrated with my luck of seats. But Alex didn’t disappoint. He followed through the crowd – stopping to let us all gaze into those baby blues while we planned a life with serenades and dope baby names like Harriet and Margot.
That could have been my own, personal take on the crowd walk experience.
When he made it back on stage, I thought my heart would explode from the perfection of the night. He continued the show, stating that he wished he had more time to play. However, the city wouldn’t allow the music past 10:30 pm.
So Foot Loose of you, NYC.
In an effort to squeeze all possible entertainment in, Alex began taking request for songs and playing snip-its of each.
This is where the magic happened.
Fans first requested Lets Get High. The band began playing the first verse and chorus, then asked for more request in hopes to play as many bits as possible. Someone requested Brother, and I must admit I was initially frustrated, as the song was not one of my personal favorites. However, Alex shared the background story to the song – expressing how it was about a friend who led them to NYC and died shortly after. His reminiscing shed light onto another facet into the complexity of the band, and showcased yet again that he can capture a crowd with more than just music.
As mentioned earlier, he is a raconteur on all levels. Brother, easily became my favorite performance of the night. It’s also currently tying with Truth for my favorite song in general.
Finally, (thank god) someone requested Home, and the little basic bitch fan girl in me was jumping with joy. The crowd was instructed to sing the intro, then Alex asked the audience if they had stories to share. MY HEART WAS OVERFLOWING. I love other people’s stories. He walked around passing the microphone as fans shared the various stories that brought them to NYC, to Prospect Park and to our night together. Some explained that it was their birthdays, or that the songs brought relationships back together. Two guys even popped marriage proposals. I felt like I was living in a weird sitcom/movie mix of Friends and Wes Anderson.
As if that wasn’t enough, the band closed out the whole show with a killer second line that felt wildly reminiscent of my home town.
Not to mention, the second line send off was a nice deviation from typical encores and endless chanting into the dark abyss. This felt real. It felt like no one wanted to say goodbye, but the goodbye was too beautiful not to experience.
Thanks for making all my fan girl dreams come true.