The line for the concert wrapped around the building and snaked into the alley. Megan and I were in the back third of the line even though we arrived an hour and a half early. Several of Zooey fans were dressed from head-to-toe in vintage polka-dots and peter pan collars. Usually I would be dressed the same, but it was windy and I had spent the afternoon watching my sister tuck her skirt between her legs to avoid giving Chicago a peep-show. I wore my Darth Vader t-shirt and jeans.
Since we were so early, I went to find a quick meal for us to eat in line. Unfortunately, the line started moving into the building while I was gone. Megan had to come and get me and we were two of the last people into the building. I had to leave our dinner outside, but somehow we nudged our way to the fourth row.
As with any concert, we stood around for more than an hour before the show started. My feet ached in my flip-flops and the crowd was getting antsy. The family next to us held our spot while we bought overpriced t-shirts. The air in the room became heavy with anticipation. However, the Aragon was a beautiful distraction. The black and blue ceiling was littered with stars and whirls of Milky Way. The planets bulged in the second dimension, hanging pregnant above our heads. Branching from the balcony were Rapunzel-style towers. The proscenium framed the stage in the same rich storybook style as the towers.
Since arriving at the theatre, there were signs everywhere discouraging people from recording the show and taking pictures at the request of the band. Everyone was asked to live in the moment and watch the concert through their eyes, not their viewfinders. As soon as Camera Obscura started their pre-show show, the cameras came out – not just cameras but phones and ipads too! There were bouncers pacing back and forth between the stage and the audience hunting for screens, flashes, and clicks.
I wish I would have listened to more Camera Obscura music before the show. I watched the keyboardist play three keyboards in amazement and admired the lead singer’s lack of Katie Perry sugar and spice as she sang beautifully in a blazer and button-up.
How to describe watching She & Him… adorable throwback vintage magic?
Zooey and Matt entered stage left; Zooey in a vintage tea length party dress with perfect bangs, Matt in a grey blazer and dripping with charm that most modern Justin Biebers could never hope to understand (obviously, I have a bit of a crush on M. Ward, his guitar, and his curly hair).
Last year, Megan and I saw Ingrid Michaelson in concert. We hadn’t bothered to get her new album since we weren’t impressed with Parachute; we spent the entire concert listening to songs we had never heard. It was kind of awkward and really disappointing. However, She & Him played songs from all of their albums and a few well-known covers. I am always impressed by musicians who can play several instruments, and Matt and Zooey did not disappoint. Though Zooey’s voice is hauntingly beautiful, the crowd went wild every time M. Ward opened his mouth. He is truly a talented artist. They ended the show on a cover of I Put a Spell on You that blew my mind. The spectacle and music of the evening blurs together as the best concert I have attended.
The only things that bummed me out about the concert: we were too close to the raised stage and I couldn’t see what shoes Zooey was wearing with her incredible dress and how sad it is that people feel the need to live through their viewfinders instead of experiencing the concert first-hand.