After the bands sold out performance at Stubbs last Monday The Decemberists stuck around Austin to perform at their second Austin City Limits performance and their first at the new venue. This band was born for this kind of taping and quickly drew the audience in with a collection of tracks from their latest release as well as some of the essentials.
Colin Meloy has a certain undefinable characteristic that makes The Decemberists that much more endearing. Its easy to imagine that most bands would not reach such a level of success as they have given the content of their songs. They don't make it easy and challenge their listeners in a time of short attention spans and iTunes singles. But Meloy and the rest of the group perform and write with the utmost conviction that you follow them along for the ride.
Not to say that it was all serious. Meloy and the others poked fun at the cameras, comparing them to freaky robots. He also jumped into the seats at one point and played a portion of the song while seated with the crowd. It was also the only ACL taping that I have attended that had so much crowd participation. At one point they instructed the band to scream as loud as they could when given a gesture to which the crowd cheerfully obliged. It remains to be seen how much of that will make it in to the actual show.
And on a happy note it was nice to see that band member Jenny Conlee was able to fly into Austin for both the Stubbs performance and the taping. She was diagnosed with breast cancer on May and is currently recovering from chemo. She seemed in great spirits and will be playing handfuls of dates during this leg of the tour with plans to full resume her duties in the future. You can see the full setlist from the show below.
It was recently announced that Coldplay would be doing a taping during ACL in addition the already announced tapings with Arcade Fire, The Head and The Heart, Gomez and Randy Newman. To enter for a chance to attend a future taping or to see see info on airing, previous tapings and other great stuff check out: AustinCityLimits.org and ACL-Live.com
Set list photo cred @Andylanger