Plants & Animals w/ Said The Whale @ Commodore -- 05/05/10

One thing that I have had really good luck with this year is shows with great overall bills. There has been at least half a dozen times where an amazing band will be playing with an equally amazing, if not better, opening act.

Right off the bat, though, I got to admit, it was kind of strange seeing Said The Whale as an opening act, but it was kinda cool to see them in the Commodore. Though I have no doubt they could pack the place on their own at this point.
They started off with "Emerald Lake, AB" and at first I was worried, cos they sounded kind of muddy. But credit to the sound guy who fixed it by the second song, "The City's A Mess". Through the set, they hit most, if not all, of my favourites, including "Love Is Art/Sleep Through The Fire". But judging by the reaction it got I'm not the only one with that opinion. Hannah Georgas came out for her part on "BC Orienteering", which was really cool. Oddly enough, I think I've only seen them once where she wasn't there for that song. She stuck around for "The Light Is You" before taking off.
They also played a new song, which I really liked, but didn't catch the name of (my new game is to guess the titles for new songs, and for this one I guess "Information Age") Near the end of their set, they dedicated "False Creek Change" to the whale that was chilling out in false creek earlier that day (which I still think was just elaborate viral marketing for their show). They finshed up with "Camilo (The Magaician)", which predictably saw everyone going nuts, and another one of my favourites, "Goodnight Moon", which I will never get tired of seeing live.
That could have been all, and it would have totally been worth it... and based on the crowds response, I think the whole place agreed... but no! There was more to come!

Emerald Lake AB, The City's A Mess, Love is Art/Sleep Through the Fire, BC Orienteering, The Light Is You, My Government Heart, Holly Ont -> Dear Elkhorn, New Song (Information Age?), Gift of a Black Heart, False Creek Change, Camilo (The Magician), Goodnight moon.

The amazing thing about Plants & Animals is that if you were to just hear them live, you would think there must be at least 5 or 6 people on stage. But nope, it's just the three of them. They manage to create an incredibly rich and lush sound that is quite simply staggering. Even though some tracks didn't sound exactly like they do on the album, that wasn't necessarily a bad things. Most of the time it was just something punched up, or a tweak here and there. It was never distracting, but added to the songs.
They kicked off the set with "New Kind Of Love", and played a pretty good mix of songs from the new La La Land and their previous Parc Avenue. Most of the first few songs were a bit mellower, and while they were all good -- "Jeans Jeans Jeans" being a standout -- I don't want to say the set "dragged", but it was maybe coming close. However, they completely changed that with the second half of the set. And since the first half of the set was already really good, when the second half stepped it up a notch and killed it, that's saying something. The ten minute jamming epic of "Faerie Dance". My favourite off the new album, "American Idol", with it's huge energy and backup saxophone (the only time there were more than the three of them on stage). The absolutely insane "Mercy", which is one of my favourite songs overall, not just P&A. Then "ending" the set with the newest single, "The Mama Papa", which was even more high energy than on the album. The encore was equally mind blowing, with the always-great-live "Feedback In The Field" and the extended version of "Guru", with a cover of "Sinnerman" slipped in.

I was vaguely disappointed with one thing though: the chanting chorus of Mercy would have been an amazing time for Said The Whale to come out and help on vocals... but while I was hoping for that, I wasn't expecting it, so I can't really be too sad it didn't happen. Other than that, it was a stupendous show, and I can't wait to see either bands live again.

setlist (there is one song I am not sure of; I think it was Tom Cruz played second, but I could be mistaken)
New Kind Of Love, Tom Cruz, Fake It, Celebration, Good Friend, Jeans Jeans Jeans, Game Shows, Undone Melody, Faerie Dance, Swinging Bells, American Idol, Mercy, The Mama Papa.
(encore) Feedback in the Field, Guru/Sinnerman.