Monday, February 9, 2009
Beirut @ BAM Opera House - 2/6/09
Friday night I met up with some friends over in Brooklyn to see Beirut at the BAM Opera House. This was my first trip to the BAM campus in a few years, the last time for the DMB Storytellers filming. For those of you that haven't been to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, it's just a short subway trip out of Manhattan and comprised of several buildings. The Opera House is a beautiful venue, both from the exterior and interior. You enter into a main lobby and can proceed upstairs where there's a large bar/cafe just outside the opera house (feels like you're in a furnished airplane hanger).
A lot of elements about the venue make it feel like you're seeing a broadway play instead of a typical concert. Just before the show begins, they ring a bell that alerts you that the band is going to come on. You need to finish your drinks in the cafe area because none are allowed in the theater (not such a bad thing to keep people seated during the performance(s). We were ushered in and seated in the center of the first balcony, a pretty good view of the stage.
The band promptly came on and the first thing I noticed was how few members there were. When I saw Beirut last year at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, I think there were at least ten people on stage......this time only six. After the first song, Zach Condon asked the crowd to come closer so a ton of people in orchestra seating rushed the stage making it look like a general admission area by the time everyone had filed in. They continued the set with a pretty solid group of older songs with a few new ones sprinkled in.
About have way through the show, the band invited the Vassar Orchestra on stage to join them. This was a pretty big group (maybe 30 people) consisting of strings, brass, saxophones, etc. I thought this really brought a cool element to the show and definitely added to songs like "A Sunday Smile" and "Scenic World".
The band played for about an hour and a half and overall, it was definitely a good concert. The crowd around us was really respectful, people were glued to their seats and you could hear everything clearly (great acoustics in the theater). Personally, I think I liked seeing them more in a small general-admission type setting but this was something different and I still enjoyed it.