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i am the heart that you call home

The Decemberists, "The Engine Driver"This Saturday was the Decemberists concert at Pioneer Courthouse Square we've been looking forward to for months. And it was everything that is awesome about The Decemberists, Portland, September, and people in general.

But first -- today's bento, using a box I haven't broken out in awhile.

lunch, deli club:

  • herb roasted chicken
  • pan sauce Sally made last night from pan drippings (pork chops for dinner), onions, and basil
  • baked potato with sour cream and butter
  • cucumbers and cherry and lemon drop tomatoes (from our garden)
  • Gala apple slices and red grapes

Except for the tomatoes, the veggies are all from our share, the fruit from our bin delivery. This has been a terrible year for the garden, and everyone we talk to says the same. Seeds from last year's end-of-year tomatoes that got composted got spread into our garden as a result, and they completely took over both beds, strangling what few things were able to make it through the months of cold and rain we had in May and June and into July. But of course we had hardly any hot weather this summer, so we have two beds chock full of insane tomato plants absolutely covered with green tomatoes. (And the majority are cherry and lemon drop tomatoes, so they're far too small to justify the time of making green tomato relish.) Sigh. The vagaries of nature, I suppose.

So anyway, the concert! Was awesome! And I still love The Decemberists the mostest! Like of all the things in all the world!

Pioneer Courthouse Square on a perfect September daySaturday was actually part of MusicFest NW, which is 200 bands at 20 venues in 5 days. The Decemberists played at Pioneer Courthouse Square, known locally as "Portland's living room" because it's smack in the middle of downtown and there are always events and rallys and concerts and activities going on there. The weather was absolutely spectacular -- clear and warm -- and just being there, in the center of our city on a gorgous September evening with our favorite music right there, live...well.

Weinland, who were awesomeThey had three bands opening for them, starting at 4 PM with Weinland, who were fabulous. Blue Giant followed, who we liked but didn't love, and then Laura Veirs with Hall of Flame. They were okay, too, but totally the wrong vibe right before The Decemberists. Which, I get why she got that billing because of her collaboration with them on Hazards of Love, but it was music better suited to a coffeehouse than pumping up the crowd before the main act at an outdoor venue.

another side of Pioneer Square, the view directly behind where we were sittingWe opted to sit on the bricks toward the back of the square (one side of the square is an amphitheater-style series of sloping walkways and steps) rather than stand on the square closer to the stage. Not so great for being close to the band and hard on the keisters after 6 hours, but our ears and our feet thanked us for choosing that option. We were at just the right range to see everything on stage and enjoy the music without hurting our ears or needing ear plugs.

taking the stage with "The Infanta"By the time The Decemberists came on stage (7:30), our butts were sore and Laura Veirs had sucked our will to live right out of us, but as soon as they came on, it was totally worth it. Colin Meloy was adorable and hilarious as usual and they sounded terrific. They launched right into "The Infanta", followed by "Billy Liar", so things were hopping in short order.  The set list:

The Infanta
Billy Liar
Yankee Bayonet (w/ Laura Veirs)
Rise to Me (new song off their upcoming album)
Down By the Water (new song off their upcoming album)
The Engine Driver* (and yes, I flipped out, and got a vid, and multiple pictures)
O Valencia!
16 Military Wives
The Rake's Song
Won't Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
The Island

June Hymn (new song off their upcoming album)
Sons and Daughters

closing out the show with "Sons and Daughters'That last was such a fitting tribute for the day that it was, and I appreciated that instead of some kind of long monologue about 9/11 or choosing to cover something as a commemoration -- neither of which is their style -- they opted instead to simply acknowledge the day and that there's nothing that can be said, really, and then play the song that has so much to say about events that define us and generational grief, asking us to join in as harmony with "here all the bombs fade away".

I took a million gajillion pictures and several short vids, so be thankful I didn't post them all. (I would've liked to take advantage of my Droid's capability to do long vids and shoot at least a few minutes of a song or something, but they had security people roaming all the damn time, so I couldn't do more than 10 or 15 seconds at a go. But I did get them singing my two favorite lines from "The Engine Driver", so...score.)

*from "The Engine Driver", for readers who aren't familiar with The Decemberists**:

I am a writer, a writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home



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