Last night, seminal northwest coast mountain rock elite Fleet Foxes graced the Orpheum with a show that while big on intimately beautiful moments, left this reviewer unsure of his opinions. The show opened with gorgeous visuals as the band began with the first song from their recent and excellent new album Crack Up, titled “I Am All that I Need./Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar." From there they basically went through song after song with little distance between the end of one song and the beginning of the next. In this case, that played to their strength of building a cohesive element among all of the songs, but it also ultimately made the show last and feel much longer than it was necessary.
One of my favorite things about Fleet Foxes on record is that you’re transported to this majestic mythical place where emotion comes head to head with this full, light aired atmosphere. At the Orpheum on Monday night though, it felt daunting to me the longer the band went on. They sounded fantastic and the musicianship was top notch. But 23 songs and nearly two hours of similar-ish songs can take a toll. Maybe it was just me though. The rest of the capacity crowd loved it and applauded them consistently throughout. This speaks to the lure of the band, as well as the fervor of fans of indie rock that much of the mainstream crowd simply wouldn’t gain. In short, are Fleet Foxes great? Yes, they are. Do they know how to present an enthralling show from start to finish? Mostly, but definitely yes if they shortened and tightened their live set a bit.
All in all the highlights were amazing, with “Mykonos” eliciting sing-alongs and a connectivity between the band and audience that was more fulfilling than you could ask for, and closer “Helplessness Blues” that delivered the exact intensity and beauty at the perfect moments to keep the crowd and this reviewer content with an impressive showing and presentation. After everything is said is done though, the show was worth watching, ultimately appealing to the crowd ar hand, but maybe a little too repetitive and long-winded.
Photos by Steve Hatley