Elbow

Elbow at The Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA, October 1st, 2011

Oct 02, 2011 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern
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I’d like to nominate Elbow’s Guy Garvey as the most charming man in rock. Really. How many artists do you honestly believe when they thank you for coming? When they ask an audience how they’re doing? Or call a stadium full of people “friends?” Chalk it up to waiting ten years to release their first record. Chalk it up to his being the kind of personality that thrives in the spotlight. Or…chalk it up to the fact that Elbow happens to be a band of gentlemen in the truest sense of the word. Your choice.

In town to promote superb fifth album, build a rock boys! the Manchester-based quintet looked at home on the large stage—a skill honed over their past twenty years together as a band. (The audience, upon learning that this year is the band’s twentieth birthday promptly erupted in a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”)  Although a clearly planned moment (as the announcement was made with shots in hand—ready for a celebratory drink) the band managed to look both pleased and bashful at the outpouring of support.

Audience participation dotted the seventeen-song set. Aside from encouraging fans to hum and clap along, Garvey lead the audience in a few vocal warm-ups, chanting the name of the venue in falsetto before teasing that “In New York they were harmonizing!” and segueing into “Grounds For Divorce.” Perhaps more unorthodoxly, Garvey also lead the audience in a chant of “Sexy Craig” in honor of keyboardist Craig Potter, joking, “That woman is putting her hips into it. Security!” 

Perhaps all too soon for audience and band alike the night wore on—to that critical moment when the band leaves the stage to towel off and grab another beer before the encore. Not that the audience believed it was the last song. “It’s important to stand on ceremony” Garvey declared, forcing the audience to display their proper “disappointment” before leaving the stage…only to emerge minutes later (trumpets rather than beers in hand), triumphant.

The evening ended with another audience sing-along, this time to Seldom Seen Kid cut, “On a Day Like Today.” A soaring anthem, it felt not unlike the call of an old friend. Not only charming, but very nearly perfect.

 

Set List:

1. The Birds

2. The Bones of You

3. Mirror Ball

4. Neat Little Rows

5. Grounds For Divorce

6. The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver

7. Great Expectations

8. The Night Will Always Win

9. Puncture Repair

10. The River

11. Lippy Kids

12. Weather to Fly (acoustic)

13. Weather to Fly

14. Open Arms

Encore:

15. Starlings

16. Station Approach

17. On a Day Like This

(www.elbow.co.uk)




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