July 29, 2005

Review: Thievery Corporation @ 9:30 Club 7/28

In order to see one of the most diverse groups of people gathered in one place, you only need go to a Thievery Corporation concert. All ages, ethnicities, and types of music fans gathered together at the first of three sold-out shows at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC.

The queue began at about 6:30, though the doors did not open until one hour later. However, waiting was entertaining enough, since a camera crew hired by Thievery was interviewing the DJs and their singers, as well as the waiting fans, including yours truly, for a possible DVD release some time in the future. They asked people if they had seen Thievery live before, how they would define their music, the craziest things they had seen at a show (bar people smoking a certain illegal substance), etc.

At 10:30, following another 3-hour wait with no opening act, Eric Hilton, Rob Garza and company made a triumphant return to their hometown stage, seeming at ease with the adoring crowd. In fact, they seemed a little too at ease, if you know what I mean.

I was curious to see how the DJs would fill in for the megastars who sang for tracks on The Cosmic Game, such as Perry Ferrell and Wayne Coyne. Punjabi singer Gunjan actually performed the songs she sang on the album, and stole the show with her soprano, otherworldly vocals. As always, the show featured longtime French singer Loulou and the Jamaican rastafarians known as See-I, who always know how to work the crowd into a frenzy. While Emiliana Torrini was not performing, a young Brazilian singer, Princess Carina, was her equal in style and stage presence, and her sensual performance of "Exilio (Exile)" beckoned the crowd to join her in singing "A la la la le, lo le lo le, lo le lo la la la." The only regrettable vocal performance was that of Sista Pat, who substituted for Perry Ferrell on "Revolution Solution." While her soulful style worked for "Wires and Watchtowers," it sounded much too choppy and gospel-like for an otherwise trippy song. Of course, not many could outdo Ferrell for trippy.

The climax of the show was the vision of a completely packed house drunk on the hypnotic beat and frenetic rapping of "Warning Shots," waving their hands back at the Jamaican duo and screaming "One, and it comes the two to the three!" over and over again. The memory alone is enough to draw goosebumps.

Eric and Rob mentioned that they were nervous about the homecoming, but by the end of the show the performer/audience barrier had been blurred into oblivion, when the audience overtook the stage to dance to "Coming from the Top." By the end of the show, everyone in the audience felt like they were coming home.

I recorded much of the show digitally, and then the 930 Club staff confiscated my recorder and deleted it, so if anyone could help me out by emailing me the remainder of the setlist, I would be grateful. Fortunately, I wrote down most of the songs . . .

The Cosmic Gate
Satyam Shivam Sundaram (feat. Gunjan)
Revolution Solution
Wires and Watchtowers (feat. Sista Pat)
Exilio (Exile)
The Heart's a Lonely Hunter
Focus on Sight
State of the Union
Warning Shots
The Time We Lost Our Way

Encore #1
Richest Man in Babylon
Coming from the Top

Encore #2
Marching the Hate Machines (Into the Sun)

Related articles:
Thievery Corporation July 4 BBC Session
Thievery Corporation Sold Out, Second Date Added
Thievery Corporation 9:30 Club Presale
Thievery Corporation - The Cosmic Game