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Angels in Los Angeles

Written by Michelej1 Dec 11, 2014 at 07:26 PM
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So, glad to catch up with this tour again. Minneapolis seems like it was ages ago, it could just as easily have been 6 months since I've seen them, rather than just two. Luckily, they've fared well over time.

One Ledgie reminded the board that back in 1982 when they played the Forum, Lindsey said: "Great to be playin' LA, it's been a few years since we've been on the road and a lot of people were wondering what happened to us. Well we're here to show that, we just refuse to go away so!" 32 years later, I guess time has proven LB correct.

I see Kristen take her seat with her girls. She is not on the floor. She's in a side section about 10 rows up. I'm not sure who her connection with the band is, but you'd think they could get her better seats.

Since we're all familiar with the setlist, like an old friend, I'll just describe the human moments, more than the music.

I loved seeing Christine jump and clap when she wasn't singing during The Chain. Stevie mentions that Christine has had a personal trainer since February and I suppose this is her aerobics segment of the work out.

Christine says, "Hello Los Angeles." Stevie says they've just come back from Canada, in Calgary where it was EIGHT degrees. So, you can believe they are thrilled to be back in Los Angeles. She says this is the part of the show where she welcomes Christine back and asks her where she's been, but since they've already done 26 shows this tour and that includes Calgary at 8 degrees and Christine is still here with them, it looks like she is here to stay. So, she doesn't think she has to say welcome anymore. Instead she can just say, "let's get this party started."

So, this is the first time I've had a chance to see Stevie's new Rhiannon shawl. The material that connects the feathered layers is stringy, somewhat like a spider web. With the fluff, she does seem very much like a bird in flight. It's thicker and longer than her other shawl, so when she spreads out her arms, she has quite an imposing wing span and I think it does suit the ominous tone of the song well. She comes right to the edge of the stage and towers above the audience briefly, just before the "Dreams unwind ..." part. I don't watch most of the Youtube videos, so I didn't know about the change of the ending: No you can't cry out for her.

When Christine next takes the mic she says she used to live in Los Angeles years ago and wishes she still lived here. She thanks the band for letting her return and says she loves them and "I love you."

After Everywhere, Lindsey moves to his mic and I suppose the lighting director missed his cue. The light comes on and LB says, "thank you. I wasn't going to start talking in the dark." Why not? I don't think it would be the first time.

He says it's been a long time since they've been in that building. He's polished his alliteration and now says that they will Prevail as they enter this profound, poetic and prolific cycle.

As I look at the gigantic Lindsey talking head float on the screen during IKINR, I have to wonder if Stevie has to chant to herself, "don't look back, don't look back ..." with the urgency and panic of Lot warning his family as they fled Sodom. Turning on stage to find that giant Lindsey head staring at her, murmuring "da da da da" must be the stuff of Stevie's worst nightmares.

I'm on Lindsey's side of the stage and the floor speakers block my view of almost everything. In fact, I'm not even sure that Christine HAS returned to the band. I saw scant evidence of her tonight. Still, I'll cling to glimpses. It was so wonderful to see her broad smile as she waited for Lindsey to approach her accordion. He bounded over, zooming right up to her, both beaming as they jammed.

Stevie used that time to cross the stage and wave at the other side of the audience.

As far as their harmony goes, not harmonies, but just a sense of unity among them, I think SYLM has to be the greatest song in the setlist. It's so beautiful. Lindsey seems to have a different lick to follow every line Christine sings in the verses. They both gesture towards him for his interjection at the end and then they say, "falling, falling, falling" all three together, arms raised, bringing the song to a close. It's magical and it exemplifies that hole that was there during Christine's absence.

For Seven Wonders, Stevie isn't even saying Aaron (much less Sara or Terra) this time. She's basically just saying an open-ended "aaaah aaaah aaah," while sliding an imaginary violin bow to and fro. At the end she thanks American Horror Story and the 60 million people it introduced to the song.

For Big Love Lindsey mentions that it's from TITN and the album title gets around of applause from the audience, which Lindsey doesn't acknowledge with pride, the way he did when the album Tusk got applause last tour.

Lindsey describes 1987 and says that, like him, everyone in the band put up defenses. He doesn't know if they were really necessary, but it's what they thought they had to do to get through that period. He says that since he knows the song more than most (?) he'd like to dedicate it to "Will, Lee Lee, Stella and, of course, Kristen, without whom I might still be in that other place." And yet Linds, you seat her in a section so far away that the distant glint of your wedding ring only taunts her.

Also, what does he mean that he knows this song better than most? Has he just been stumbling through all the other tunes in his repertoire, piecing together what musical remnants he can from his rapidly failing memory?

For Landslide, Stevie says that it is a dedication song and always has been since she wrote it in 1973. Because they are home, she would like to dedicate the song to her three fairy god daughters, Molly, Tessa and Ruby, because she feels like a fairy godmother. She feels like Maleficent! She says she hopes they continue to be the excellent god daughters that they are.

At the end of the song, Stevie says, "Did you see that magical sky? Thank you."

For Over My Head, Christine says that it was written just after this extraordinary, gifted young couple, Stevie and Lindsey, came into their lives. Huh? Extraordinary. Sounds like things started off promising, but then went swiftly downhill. Sad.

Over My Head really feels like a duet in parts, because for the chorus, Stevie and Christine sing directly to one another and it's really sweet.

Without Mick and Lindsey jumping in, the Gypsy introduction lacks the humor and charm of the Without You intro and I think it causes the audience to lose focus, because it's less personal. Neale goes over and chats with the back up singers. He mimics their swaying motion and then he steps up to the mic and holds up his hand doing one of those, "Stop in the Name of Love" gestures. He's worked out quite a bit of choreography for himself.

Stevie is saying how she made money with Fritz and since she was still being supported by her parents, she got to spend it, which is how she ended up at the Velvet Underground store. She says that she's surprised that her mother didn't make her save the money, since that's how her mom was. Anyway, she used to tell herself that one day they would be big rock stars.

When I hear Little Lies on the radio, it's frothier than I would like as a representation of the band. But live, the guitar finale makes it rock quite a bit.

On Gold Dust Woman, I like how Stevie and Lindsey have coordinated moves for the "did she make you cry, make you break down, shatter your illusions of love," part. They move their heads at the same time and when Lindsey steps back from his mic, Stevie steps back at hers too, in synch.

For the part she described as a "crack head dance" I'm reminded of her Tom Petty appearance and how great it was when she was dancing under the strobe light, which gave a cool, mechanical stop/start quality to her movements. In a way, she has captured that movement in GDW, her body jerking back and forth, as if jolted. Struck by a bolt of electricity.

"You did this to me. You wish you could do it. But you can't do it. You just can't do it." Mick gives her a standing ovation from behind his drum kit.

I know some of you have said that Lindsey never improvises on ISA anymore, but to me, he's playing it a little differently than he was a couple of months ago. I'm not saying the guitar changes are better or worse, but they're different. When he gets to the part where he jumps in the air, he does it three times and Christine smiles at each leap.

At the end, he swings the guitar like a baseball bat and some people in the audience shout for him to "break it." Oh, there have been times in the past where he would have.

After the encore, Stevie and Lindsey walk out together, but I can only see the tops of their heads.

When Mick makes the band introductions, Stevie moves to the right to serenade the backup singers and then scurries back over to the left to acknowledge Neale and Brett, when Mick gets to them. Getting over there in time, it's almost as if she's playing beat the clock.

At the end of the show, when Stevie says that Christine called her up in October and asked what she would think of Christine returning to the group, the voice she uses in imitation of Christine is rather high. It sounds like Minnie Mouse with a british accent. But it's amusing. She says that the audience's universal consciousness brought Christine back, but if it had been left up to many of us, she would have returned 15 years ago. I don't think it took this long for our collective conscience to get the message out.

Mick comes out with his two daughters and Stevie hugs them as she exits.

All in all, an epic show. Usually, even in a great setlist, there are songs that create a bit of a lull. People have named songs that drop the momentum this tour in their reviews, but for me there's a high point in every single one, taking me to the heights of fandom, before falling, falling, falling.
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