With the first few entries in this WIHAN series, I’ve managed to wallow in my glory days of the late 1970s. Time for something a little more current, I say.
This birthday present of a show came courtesy of my son, Ben. He decided he wanted to take me to a club show where he could legally buy me a beer for the first time, having turned 21 a few months earlier. Truth be told, The Polyphonic Spree wasn’t his first choice, but a conflict forced him to pick this one, so it would have to do.
And do it did.
The Spree put on a show that mere words don’t do justice. It is big, epic in every sense. It swells with one giant feel-good anthem after another.
The show seems designed for stadiums, but on this night in July 2007 they managed to cram it all onto the Fine Line stage. Now, I’ve played this patch of real estate a few times and it seemed cramped with six of us up there. The Spree found room for at least 22:
- 1 lead singer
- 7 backup singers
- 1 harpist
- 1 drummer
- 1 percussionist
- 1 piano
- 1 organ/keyboardist
- 3 brass
- 1 woodwind
- 1 guitarist
- 1 bassist
- 1 violin
- 1 viola
- 1 cello
There may have been more up there; Ben and I kept counting and coming up with a higher number.
Whatever the final count, the energy coming off the stage was incredible. The leader of this hippy-dippy gospel ensemble, Tim DeLaughter, is like a Mr. Rogers on acid, impishly coaxing sing-alongs out of an audience eager to be part of this extended late 60s/early 70s Coke commercial. Don’t take my word for it, check it out:
Hey, neither Ben nor I went into the room as die-hard fans, but it is impossible not to get caught up in this kind of moment. If you don’t, you must be flat-lining.
(WIHAN stands for “When I Had a Nightlife,” an occasional feature described in this post.)