Boston Calling 2014

This weekend I went to the concert called Boston Calling, a big rowdy musicfest held in the public square in front of Boston’s hideous City Hall building (don’t believe me? Google it. You’ll be stunned at what a concrete monstrosity is sitting within a block of Faneuil Hall). But it was an absolutely terrific time; I saw Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and they were probably the best musical performers I’ve ever been to. The live versions of their songs were fierce and rich with sound, melody, and depth; it might have something to do with the sheer size of the band and number of instruments the band uses; I saw banjos, guitars, piano, two sets of differing percussion, a giant bass, an accordian, and a tuba and trombone. Their music, if you haven’t heard them, has a soulful seventies vibe, and the hippies were out in full force in the crowd. The smell of pot wafted over the crowd and daisy chains abounded.

The lead singer was a relaxed bearded guy with a navy suit over what looked like white pajamas and a high top knot of ridiculously long hair; he sang joyous, catchy, exuberant songs, without a bad one in the bunch.

I haven’t been to a big concert like this in years, and it was amazing to see how many people turned out just for this band, with more coming for the following act of Jack Johnson. We were glad to have arrived early; if we’d come late, there would have been no way to get close to the stage. When leaving later, we had to push and weave and dodge and excuse ourselves for a good twenty minutes just to get to the edge of the mass of people. But it’s great once in a while to go to these big popular events, even if crowds aren’t your thing; there’s something joyful and liberatory about swaying and singing along with a thousand strangers. The next time your favorite band shows up in town, don’t miss it!

When was the last time you went to a big concert, and were the long lines, the security, and all the standing worth it? What do you love about live music?

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