December 13, 2011: Washington, DC
It was my fourth time seeing Beirut and I was prepared for a let down. I saw them only about two months earlier at a show outside of Detroit, so I expected them to play the same set etc. It didn't happen though. They played revised arrangements of some classics and even played some songs that I've never heard them play live before (e.g. After the Curtain from Gulag Orkestra). There were some similiarities, such as shortened versions of Scenic World and the Shrew, but the mix was enough to make it all worth it. They of course played all of their classics (Postcards from Italy, Nantes, Gulag Orkestra, and Sunday Smile) as well.
The video below is from the show, BUT I didn't shoot it. And thank goodness, I was not standing next to Mr. Yapalot. If there were any criticisms of the show, it would be focused on DC and our inability to ever move and make an entertainer feel like they'r succeeding. We were up in the balcony and we could see that the main floor was like a pile of Maryland crabs for most of the show. Occassionaly there was movement--as if a small group had just been sprayed with the hose. (That's another crabs reference--not one to "Lambs".) I think Beirut did ultimately succeed though and got DC to break out of its shell with a few songs left and then a strong finale.
Anytime I'm at a 9:30 Club show, I now think of the Spiritualized show I saw there. They played their main set, said goodbye, and never came back on stage. I don't know if they do that a lot or if it was a on the spot reaction to DC's rigidness. I like to think that it was a response to the moment. In any case, it garnered some respect from me. (I'm not encouraging other acts do it though!) Oh, and dont' get me wrong, we weren't completely unenthusiastic last night for Beirut. I just felt like they garnered a little more than we gave them, even only if for the usual crowd pleasers like Postcards from Italy.
P.S. I like 9:30 Club's spiked coffee drinks. Their Irish Coffee and Coffee+Kahlua both hit the spot.