The Palladium Dallas 7/5/10
After watching a few videos of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performing live, I knew I would be crazy if I passed up a chance to see them in my own backyard. This hippie jam band consists of a rambling 10 member cast of characters that build songs from crescendos of percussion, dynamic his and her vocals, and all encompassing lyrics filled with death, life and love.
And so it goes, we bought the tickets online a week early and easily talked a couple of friends into going with us, because I’m sure they would have never resigned the bragging rights of seeing this wonderful band that we all have so much faith in… before they become mainstream.
I knew the night of the concert would be hectic. I packed like crazy bag lady Ally Sheidi before work, knowing that I would have to change in the bathroom, catch my ride, and high tail it to Dallas to make the 8:00pm show time. On the way, our anticipation was building with every song that played from the Up From Below CD. We talked about the bands psuedo figure ‘Edward Sharpe’, the 12 part video musical in the making, the recurring lyrical theme of momento mori, and Jade’s ubiquitous presence in every aspect of the group. And Peter threatened severe penalty if they did not play Home… after being subjected to it repeatedly from every room in the house via my children and myself.
We arrived on time, with 5 minutes to spare. My excitement was palpable and I could hardly contain myself long enough to buy a concert tee from a table at the entrance of the building. After choosing the perfect tee that would fit only me, to ensure Peter could not steal it… I rolled it up, and shoved it into my front pocket. From there we entered the main stage area and I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance, considering the descriptions I had read online… with endearments such as ‘warehouse’, ‘hole in the wall’, and ‘trample factory.’ The floors were covered with warm colored hardwood, and the main stage area was surrounded by a bar on either side with a wrap around iron railing.
At first, I assumed we should find a spot by the rail because the floor space was already half filled with a teeming mass of hipsters, but as we walked around to the bar on the far side of the room we noticed an opening right up in front of stage right. I passively creeped up to see if anyone would glare and fend off the prime spot… but the closer I came to the stage, the less I cared about physical or mental harm… and I slid right into one of the best spots in the house.
The Palladium is standing room only, so if you move, your spot is gone… and gazing upon the battered mini piano with silk red roses woven into the microphone wire and the huge triptych Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz hand painted on drop cloths covering the back of the stage… I knew I might as well have been made of stone because I was certainly not going to budge one single inch for bathroom breaks, drinks, anyone or anything else.
After standing around for what seemed like half an hour, we heard mumblings of the opening act cancelling… which only made my excitement grow as we saw more and more stage hands mulling about this or that. And then she was there. Jade Castrinos, with an ear to ear grin, and the floating swagger of a gypsy. She wore a patterned dress and had a tiny satchel draped across her. The buzz in the crowd became more frenzied, and it took all the will power I had not to whip around and scold an obnoxious young girl that was slurring about not knowing who the hell this band even was… and then taunting, “Come on Edward Scissorhands! Let’s see if you suck!” Seriously… so close to a smack down.
I continued to people watch, as Jade and the piano player, Aaron Embry, set the tone for what was to come. Next, the band joined them for a hauntingly beautiful This Is Not Our Home… dedicated to BP. And when Alex finally came on, the crowd was overjoyed. He wore his iconic white tattered suit and red scarf, and started out singing sitting ‘indian style’ on the floor.
The couple next to me did not sway to the music and wore the intense faces of two emotionless ghosts through the first three songs. I saw the faint stir of disdain in the girl ghost when a scantily clad, less than sober, groupie-esque girl tried repeatedly to pass the huge bodyguard at the side of the stage next to us.
I looked at her and said, “You and me, let’s go… I think we could take him.”
Finally a laugh. They did not sing or say a word for the rest of the concert… But they held hands and they did not remove their gaze from the stage one time.
As sad as it is, I had been “studying” the lyrics… because, I figured, they have ONE album. I will know EVERY word to EVERY song they play. And the album is not just good, it’s phenomenal. And to think, they were essentially opening for themselves!
I sang until my throat hurt, I danced my own gypsy dance without shame, I waved at Jade (because she was RIGHT THERE)… and she smiled her Jade smile and waved back at me, I pointed at Alex while singing a chorus… and he pointed and sang back at me. I felt like I was the only one there… but also like we were all connected in our own blissed out worlds. Even the drunk Edward Scissorhands girl had stopped running her mouth, and was close to tears.
When they broke out the opening lyrics to Home, I looked over to see Peter’s triumphant grin. It was like magic. Just like when Alex leapt over the rail and walked right into the crowd to sing the final song, Brother. Only after he asked everyone in the Palladium to sit down on the floor, did he begin to sing. It was a surreal ending to an ethereal concert.
I’m not going to lie, after three and a half hours of not moving from my spot next to the stage (and three beers later)… I was making a beeline for the restrooms. But not before snagging a few autographs on my tee from the piano player, the drummer, and one of the percussionists.
When I left the restroom everyone was being ushered out. Fortunately, we were still waiting on the boys to close our tab… so we lucked into meeting the band. I’ll spare you all the gory details of my geekiness upon meeting Alex and Jade… but my face in the pictures pretty much sums it up.