January 22, 2012

Jeff Mangum played BAM

The once elusive Jeff Mangum finished a sold out, three run show tonight at the Howard Gilman Opera House to a silent and enraptured audience. Surrounded by four guitars, the myth of a man played a single chord and already applause rang out from the crowd and after two more attempts, Mangum proclaimed "this is the easiest show I've ever played." After he was finally able to dive into a song, he kicked off the evening with Aeroplane's epic finale "Two-Headed Boy Part Two", it was an onslaught of all the classics one would hope to hear. While his performance at I'll Be Your Mirror was like seeing a Blue Whale in it's natural habitat (the last thing you ever thought you would actually witness), his performance tonight was full of energy and a special sparkle that dusted the show with a certain magic of its own. Tracks from Neutral Milk's two landmark albums intertwined through the set and the majesty of the performance was elevated even more so as Julian Koster and the rest of the Music Tapes provided additional beauty as they joined in on french horn, trumpet, accordion, and saw giving an extra glow and allowing for a triumphant rendition of "The Fool". The performance seemed natural and calm, not something you'd expect from a man who spent so long out of the spotlight, and after encouraging the crowd to sing along earlier, "if you're gonna sing at home, you might as well sing here", he started the encore by insisting everyone rush the stage. The night ended in a mob of people gathering at the stage swaying to "Song Against Sex" and Jeff high-fiving everyone in reach.

Two-Headed Boy Part Two
Holland, 1945
Gardenhead / Leave Me Alone
Little Birds
April 8
Oh Comely
Two Headed Boy
The Fool
Song Against Sex
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

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