Feist @ the Fillmore AuditoriumBy | July 18th, 2008 | No Comments »
Feist’s mix of theatricality and intimacy struck just the right notes at the Fillmore Auditorium on Tuesday. Photos by Laurie Scavo.
Feeling safe in the knowledge that a concert will be a tame affair is sometimes the best part about going. Maybe it’s my age showing, but knowing I wouldn’t have to fight through circles of sweaty, angry jocks to see the stage, or stand in a warehouse that is 120 degrees and full of pretentious teenage hipsters at 2 a.m. still waiting for the last band to play made seeing Feist on Tuesday at the Fillmore Auditorium just that much better. Don’t get me wrong; I love all kinds of shows, in all kinds of environments, with all kinds of people. But sometimes, it’s just too much. And Feist was just right.
Skipping on stage in a double-breasted sleeveless dress and opaque polka dot tights, Leslie Feist stepped behind a strategically placed screen with a lantern in hand, her shadow howling out an unnamed opening piece. The screen was removed cueing her band to come to life, and Feist belted through “When I Was a Young Girl” as a flurry of lights covered the crowd. The deep tones of her Rickenbacker ran fluidly alongside Fesit’s thick, brawny voice, her thin frame rocking back on cream-colored jazz heels.
An arduous multi-tasker, Feist switched quickly to acoustic guitar, propping herself between the upright piano and her benched band mate and played “Mushaboom.”
Mid-song, she leapt up and returned front and center as a stagehand placed a stepladder behind her feet and drizzled paper snowflakes down the crown of her head. She stomped through “My Moon My Man” while the bare accompaniment of drums, piano, xylophone and trumpet skittered along behind, following Feist’s fleeting motions of fingers and hips.
Addressing the masses as if she were sitting cross-legged on the carpet at a house show with only an acoustic guitar, Feist stated: “As you’re walking up the stairs (with someone special) in the movie that is your life, this is the song that’s playing,” and she dove into “The Limit to Your Love.”
Slow-dancing the audience through “Brandi Alexander” and a gorgeous rendition of “Feel it All,” she kept her crowd enchanted with her between-take quips and sly retorts. The band then left the stage and instead of asking for silence, Feist called out to the restless audience and innocently asked, “Would you talk through your first kiss?”
The auditorium quieted and the lights went low as she sequenced a harem of her own mermaid voices through a looping pedal at her feet, creating the backing for a haunting version of “Honey Honey.” Giggling and trotting about the dim stage through a new track and “Intuition,” the band reappeared for a lovely version of “1 2 3 4” in which Feist interjected her “Sesame Street”-laced lyrics. Feist explained her appearance on the infamous children’s show wouldn’t air until August, although the segment has been leaked on the Internet (big surprise) and includes her singing the monster-themed rendition to “a chicken wearing sunglasses.”
Like a preschool teacher, Feist split the audience into three groups, (long-time Feist fans, Watercourse customers, and none-of-the-aboves) and gave each a note to howl on command. While the experiment didn’t quite work, Feist’s ability to coddle and command her large audience was intriguing to watch from my balcony seat. Holding the crowd in her hand, she wrapped her set with “Gate Keeper” and a fervent rendition of “Sea Lion,” exercising the sheer strength and versatility of her voice.
Feist and band ran from the stage waving their goodbyes, and her helpers reappeared with lighting and a screen now placed at the bench of the upright piano. Feist returned moments later to sat down and play “The Water,” her shadow growing and shrinking in the moving light. The house again went low and the spinning effect of a disco ball kicked in as she sang “Deep in My Memory,” and then closed with “Let it Die.”
Even with a lack of new material, Feist performed her 18-song set with endearing poise. She knows what it takes to stand in front of people and be open and honest, and treats her audience like the real people they are, even if she’s got to keep 3,000 of them content. Feist’s modesty and gratitude aren’t a given; they’re just her gift.
Laurie Scavo is a Denver-based photographer and regular Reverb contributor.