Although I am a huge fan of Andrew Bird's music, I must confess, I am not very into music in general. When I go to a concert, I want to hear the songs I've come to love from an artist, not new material they're working on. So when I went to see Andrew Bird tonight in a revisiting of last year's holiday Gezelligheid concert concept, I was a little disappointed to discover that he is working on releasing a new album (which would otherwise be something to celebrate), as it meant that he did not perform a single piece all evening that I recognized. Don't get me wrong, I was still impressed with his use of elaborate musical looping and layering of sounds, and his set was still enjoyable.
The same could not be said for the opening act, experimental jazz guitarist Jeff Parker. When he first went on stage, I was under the impression that he was tuning his guitar. After several minutes, it became clear that the random noises and series of scales were in fact, his first "composition." (The very fact that he considered his pieces "compositions" and not songs, was not a good sign to me, in itself.) I suffered silently through the first composition, pondering if perhaps it was just too high-brow for me, when Darrell (with whom I had gone to see the show) leaned over and whispered to me, "It is clear that Andrew Bird hates his fans, and this is how he's choosing to tell us." I felt a little better knowing I wasn't alone in my perception of Parker's wretchedness, but it was still an incredibly long 45 minutes to sit through to get to the main event.
Even though I wished there would have been more opportunities to sing along in my head to Andrew Bird's music, I'm still glad I went to see this year's Gezelligheid show. For me, it was more of an amuse bouche than a musical meal unto itself. Now I'm looking forward to the his upcoming release, so that I can learn all the new material and be familiar with it when he tours to promote the album. Hopefully, that concert will be something to look forward to in 2011.