Thursday, July 17, 2008

Feist @ Bank of America Pavilion, 7/8

A packed Bank of America Pavilion crowd gathered last Tuesday night to experience Feist with special guest opener Juana Molina. The Pavilion is not the right venue for Feist. (It's not the right venue for anyone, really.) Regardless, the music seemed to float, carried by the summer sea breeze and a collective feeling of joy that seems to fill the air whenever Feist comes to town.

Well-known in South America, Argentinian actress and musician Juana Molina opened with a solid set of her hypnotizing alt-folk concoctions. She used a looping device, like Feist, that wrapped us up in layers of rhythm and vocal harmonies. The audience seemed to fall under the graceful Molina's atmospheric spell as she performed all of her songs in Spanish.

It's always a thrilling moment when Leslie Feist takes the stage. Watching her tiptoe from corner to corner to peer out at the audience from behind her lantern, you can tell she is as delighted to see them as they are to see her. Great performers do more than sing songs—they can lift you up and away. Feist led us on a journey through each of her thoughtful tunes, her sincere takes on the human condition (as all great art usually is).

After taking a seat at the piano, she began with a hymn-like chant: "Help is on its way." She played mostly from 2007's The Reminder, with "I Feel It All" and "1234" getting the crowd on its feet. Shadowy images of flying birds and other natural scenes served as a backdrop, projected on the back wall for all to see.

She told us it was her wish to perform while we all lie down in some grass eating ice cream cones. Later, she had us do the wave for her own amusement. Pretty standard, really... like accepting a small xylophone from a Colombian girl sitting in the front row, discussing its design with the audience, and then challenging a member of her band to find a way to incorporate the instrument into the next song (which he did throughout the night).

Feist played an unreleased song called "Phantoms" and then ended with a rocking version of "Sea Lion Woman." She came back out to play "Let It Die" and then said farewell, leaving us all in a happier place than when we entered.

- Jessy Bartlett

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