Monday, October 29, 2007

Stars at the Variety Playhouse - 10/27/07

It is my opinion that Stars is worth driving over 2 hours to see, which is exactly what I did on Saturday when they played the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. I haven't seen them live since the fall of 2005 when they opened for Death Cab at the Tabernacle (also on the Saturday before Halloween). At that time they didn't seem to be very well-known among the showgoers in my general vicinity, but quite a few people were buzzing after their performance. They've certainly become more well-known in the past 2 years, so I was expecting a good turnout for their return to Atlanta. I guess the band wasn't because they expressed their surprise that so many people showed up in a city where they only know 2 people.

Magnet opened and he played a pretty good set but talked too much. I didn't count how many songs he played but it felt like he only played 5 because of his stage patter. I would have been happy to listen to his charming Norwegian accent if he had been the co-headliner but when you're the opener, it's time to get down to business. He also asked for audience participation on practically every song, which was a little annoying.

After a short break, Stars took the stage (which was covered in flowers and artwork) to begin their energetic performance. I don't see how anyone could have left the venue unhappy with their Stars experience because the band's joy in performing is so contagious. Some highlights included the band throwing flowers into the crowd every few minutes, Torq coming on stage in a light-covered coat during "The Ghost of Genova Heights," a lovely version of "Look Up" (which was the song that introduced me to the band in 2003), Amy Millan diving into the crowd, "Elevator Love Song" and "On Peak Hill." I wish that they had played more than one Nightsongs selection and "My Favourite Book" from In the Bedroom, but those are small grievances. It was a fantastic show.

The setlist to the best of my memory:

Take Me to the Riot
Set Yourself on Fire
Elevator Love Song
Ghost of Genova Heights
Bitches in Tokyo
One More Night
Look Up
Soft Revolution
Midnight Coward
Window Bird
Your Ex-Lover is Dead
Sleep Tonight
What I'm Trying to Say
Ageless Beauty
In Our Bedroom After the War

On Peak Hill
Calendar Girl

A few Nightsongs
Stars - Counting Stars on the Ceiling
Stars - My Radio (AM Mix)
Stars - Going, Going, Gone


Blogger Katherine said...

It would be really nice if they brought back "Going Going Gone;" I'm sort of shocked that they've dropped it. But I completely agree with you about their joy being infectious; I think it's their biggest strength as a live band. I suppose it can be polarizing, though, particularly for those who just come for the music. (I've heard more than one person complain that they're too theatrical or cheesy, but that's why I--we?--love them!)

4:05 PM  
Blogger RacHyl said...

I too was at that show, but I was more to the left. It was awesome being right up front. I have seen Stars before, but it was at the Austin City Music Festival. They were much better here at this venue because it was inside and much more intimate.
I loved Amy's breathy, vulnerable and angelic voice alongside Torq's Preening and Dramatic vocals. Torq's actor side really came out. He has appeared in Sex and the City and other shows, and this concert was like any other show he could have appeared in. He was great.
I also wish that they would have sang Going, Going, Gone because that is one of the best songs they sing live and would have fit in perfectly with this set list. I still think this was an awesome set list with most of their best songs on it. I was not disappointed and was worth the 6 1/2 hour drive to see them!

9:02 PM  
Blogger RacHyl said...

I, too, was at that show, but I was more to the left. I was also up front. I have seen Stars before in Austin at the ACL Music Festival. They were completely awesome there, but this show was 1000% better. It was a much smaller venue and because it was inside seemed much more intimate. Don't get me wrong, they kicked ass in Austin, but this show was so much better.
Amy's vocals were breathy, vulnerable and angelic alongside Torq's preening, arrogant and dramatic vocals. It's like sweet meets sour, a perfect combo. Torq is an actor by trade and it really comes out when you see him live. He has starred in shows like Sex and the City, along with many Canadian shows. He is a great actor and it comes out when you see him live.
I, too, am Disappointed they did not sing Going, Going, Gone. That is one of their best songs and would have fit perfectly with their set list that night. I guess it would have been TOO perfect of a night. This was still one of the best shows I have seen since I saw them last in 2005!

9:09 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:20 AM  
Blogger asher said...

you don't remember them playing 'my favorite book"?

i wasn't familiar with their new material that night. but i am certain they played that song.

i fell in love with amy millan as she played that song.

it was later in the night. maybe during the encore. but i'm certain they played it.

and it was amazing!

5:31 PM  

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