Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spoon Played The Crystal Ballroom - Pictures, Review, Setlist

Let us start by saying this: Spoon never disappoint. Ever. We've seen them on both sides of the country, flown thousands of miles and driven even more, and they never leave us hanging. This is a band that is so intent on delivering, and so ridiculously full of vigor, that each new performance continues to amaze us. What's more, we always walk away feeling like the next show will never measure up, and yet it always does - and then some. Last Friday night's show at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland was certainly no exception.

The band's set was a completely electrifying delivery to a packed room of fans. It spanned almost the entire range of the band's catalog, save Telephono, with a notably heavier emphasis on newer material. That being said, there were a couple of choice back catalog selections, and we were beyond psyched to hear "Vittorio E" and "Metal Detektor". Interestingly, the crowd (perhaps because it was an all ages show?) seemed to know very little of the back catalog. The biggest reactions were garnered by Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga material, followed closely by Gimme Fiction. The crowd up front was largely under-18 year olds, and when "Metal Detektor" hit we let out a whoop, only to hear the tween behind us say "at least someone knows this song". Indeed.

We had partially ventured up to Portland with the knowledge that the band was working on new material, and that we might get a taste. Such was exactly the case, and the band delivered five new songs over the course of the set. Two ("Who Makes Your Money" and "Writing In Reverse") were familiar from last fall's Fillmore shows, while the other three were completely new. Both "Money" and "Reverse" felt significantly beefed up since last fall: the delivery was tighter, the arrangements more robust, and the whole feel was more solidified. The other three tunes also felt remarkably solid for new material - enough so that we're more than a little psyched for the new record, even if it is a year away.

One of the most remarkable things about Spoon is that for all of the dynamics of their heart-on-the-sleeve rock and roll, they are simply a four piece rock band. There are no hidden complexities there: No superficial attempts at depth, no layers of intellectualized artifice, no racks upon racks of synths and effects. Instead, it is a band that has so clearly honed it's craft to a point where the four musicians lock together like one unit.

They deliver a performance that is totally engrossing and epic, while at the same time gives a stripped down and basic delivery of some amazing songs. To see them play "My Mathematical Mind" towards the end of the set on Friday was to observe a band at the top of their game. It was a passionate and driven dose of rock and roll. It made us realize just why Spoon continues to find themselves higher and higher in the rock pantheon, with no end in sight.

Chicago At Night
Got Nuffin*
Don't You Evah
The Beast And The Dragon, Adored
The Ghost Of You Lingers
I Saw The Light*
Rhythm & Soul
Fitted Shirt
Who Makes Your Money*
Stay Don't Go
Don't Make Me A Target
Vittorio E
Here We Come Running*
I Turn My Camera On
I Summon You
The Underdog
My Mathematical Mind
Black Like Me
Writing In Reverse*
You've Got Yr Cherry Bomb
Metal Detektor
Small Stakes

*new songs
setlist picture here

Many more photos at the HAD Archive


Greg said...

Of all the weekends to be out of town, it had to be this one... Sounds like an awesome show - if only secret shows were soon to follow. Great review!

Hanan said...


you're seriously my hero for trekking up there to see Spoon.

I really liked how you described them,

"No superficial attempts at depth, no layers of intellectualized artifice, no racks upon racks of synths and effects."

it's so true! do you have any idea when we can expect a new record?

Stranger Jay said...

Jealous... Nice shots

Anna said...

Awesome, what an amazing set list. I love that they closed with "Small Stakes." I trekked up to Portland in December 07 to see Spoon, but the band seemed a bit weary at that show. It was still great though.