Jan 5, 2012

Beirut @ Sydney Opera House


It's the horns. Has to be the horns. We were swamped and drowned in them gloriously last night at the Sydney Opera House. A sublime show by the seriously talented Beirut. There were trumpets, trombones, french horns and a massive tuba. They all combined for a wildly exciting night.

A Beirut show is great because the sum is greater than the parts. To be sure, this band has some great songs. But collectively they really matter. The combine for a knockdown effect. Played on their own they have lovely qualities, but in total they are a sumptuous feast to be gorged upon. Swallowed whole and digested with glee. It's also quite a ear change to connect with a band that isn't guitar centric.I mean I love my guitars, forever. But this was different. Of course there were drums. And an electric bass, but even this was used sparingly. Front and centre was a piano accordion, two trumpets and a trombone. Sometimes these were augmented by the french horn and the tuba. They all combined to create a symphony of brass. Triumphant and ecstatic. They would surge and lift at the end of every track, bringing smiles to all those lucky to be in attendance. Of course up front was lead man Zach Condon. He would swap between trumpet and a small traveler guitar, all the time serenading us with his warm and generous voice. His voice is an instrument in itself. Informative and encouraging. Of course there were songs that stood out from the crowd. Longtime favourite "Postcards From Italy" was delectable, whilst lesser known songs like "The Shrew" and "The Akara" were rollicking good fun. "A Sunday Smile" was gorgeous, as was new favourite "Goshen", which Zach performed on piano. Another definite highlight was the epic closer "The Gulag Orkestar", which was blazing cacophony of horns. Man, 2012 has started very well indeed.

Set List
Scenic World
The Shrew
Elephant Gun
Vagabond
Postcards From Italy
The Concubine
A Sunday Smile
East Harlem
Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)
Forks and Knives (La FĂȘte)
The Akara
Nantes
Port Of Call
Cherbourg
Goshen
After The Curtain
Santa Fe

The Penalty (Zach solo)
Carousels
My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille
The Gulag Orkestar

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