Stars w/ Hey Rosetta! @ Orpheum -- 02/19/10

And to think, there was a moment when I wasn't going to go to the show. When it was first announced as an Olympic show, I was still in the mind-set of hiding in my house to avoid the two weeks of insanity the olympics would deliver. I had seen Stars a few times before, and the tickets were kind of pricey, so at first I opted out. But then the clincher came when I found out Hey Rosetta! was going to be the opening band. How could I not go with these two stellar bands on the same bill?

About quarter after eight, Hey Rosetta! hit the stage. They started off with "Red Song" (I think; if not, it was a new song) a new-ish song, Bandages, then went into "New Goodbye". By the end of that, they had the crowd hooked. With their rich sound, helped out by their own small strings section (a cello & a violin), superb songwriting, and of course Tim Baker's flawless and heartfelt vocals teeming with emotion, they put on a show that will not soon be forgotten by anyone in attendance. Playing mostly off of Into Your Lungs, they also threw in a few new songs; and if those were any indication, the new album is going to be brilliant. The way-too-short set ended with "Psalms" & "A Thousand Suns", and the band absolutely tore the place down. As they were leaving, they got an almost complete standing ovation from the crowd. The lights even stayed off for a few minutes, teasing us to the encore that was demanded, but it was not to be. The crowd actually started booing when the house lights rose again. My only complaints was that the 45 minute set was not nearly long enough, and they didn't get to a couple of my favourite songs. Other than those minor qualms... wow. Just wow. Even Toquil Campbell admitted they would have a hard time following that, and joked that Hey Rosetta! would never open for them again.
I am also pretty sure they had a new/substitute violinist. If only because he seemed to be reading sheet music as he was going. But not that he wasn't great, it was just strange.

Stars hit the stage around 930 and opened strong with "Set Yourself On Fire". They had a good mix of old and new -- and even brand new. They played three songs off their as-yet-unannounced new album. Campbell introduced "Dead Heart" by joking it was in the usual cheery Stars fashion; "Winter Bells" (or Balls, maybe) was played in the encore; but my favourite of the three was one I didn't catch the name of, but was insanely catchy and included my new favourite lyrics "I died just to I could haunt you". It was also great to hear some of the songs off the Sad robot EP live, since I hadn't heard those before. "Thread Cut With A Carving Knife" was especially great. Other highlights included the song-alongs to both the beautiful "Calendar Girls" and the energetic "Take Me To The Riot", Campbell hoping this was the year we booted Harper right before launching into the politically charged "Soft Revolution", and the strings from Hey Rosetta! coming out to help out with "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead". Campbell & Millan were, as usual, on the top of their game. And of course the rest of the band, Cranley, McGee and Seligman were just as great. The night ended with Campbell profusely thanking us for coming and supporting the band as they got closer to "Pete Townshend age" and then promptly flipped things by introducing the next song with "That being said, here's a song about fucking someone to death" and finishing with "One More Night" and coming full circle with the last verse of "Set Yourself on Fire"

This was my fourth time seeing then live, and while I think the show at Malkin Bowl is still my favourite, this one absolutely did not disappoint. Especially with the Hey Rosetta! opening.