I have wanted to have the chance to shoot Beirut since 2008; I just, at the time and since, never thought I’d have a chance to do so in a venue the (mid-)size of the Cradle, and if I did, it wouldn’t be with lights as spectacularly perfect as Zach Condon and band brought with them last night. I stood pressed against the stage and was treated to a perfectly paced and thoroughly amazing set, full of my old favorite songs and new favorite songs, all lit up by white footlights and colored backlights, and it was the perfect storm of everything I love: shep. standing next to me, singing along; phenomenal lighting; a band I adore who were even better than I had hoped they’d be.
Where Josh Ritter was a joyful sort of musical religious experience, Beirut was a peaceful one, even in the moments that Condon’s voice turned into that odd European plaint that breaks my heart, or his band ramped it up with bright horn lines and the wildest bass player dancing this side of Mikey Way. They closed the encore with an instrumental mariachi-influenced round-robin through the whole band, and what else could I want? Nothing. Nothing at all. In 2008, Zach Condon was the reason I now own a Jacques Brel box set, and in 2011, he is the reason that my heart is calm and happy today.
The full set, including opener Perfumed Genius, here.