The opening act was not my cup of tea, but the audience was incredibly respectful. I do not believe they ever said the name of the group, but it was a very nice lady playing a thumb piano (a kalimba?) with a gentleman playing the glockenspiel and banjo. If they had been playing at the 9:30 Club or the Black Cat I doubt anyone would have been able to hear them after about a minute of their first song (which in this case may not have been the worse thing in the world :-) sorry, just kidding maybe some people enjoyed what sounded like the same song being played over and over for 30 minutes). They seemed like very nice people and they told us how they had tickets to the show, but then ended up selling them after they found out they were going to be the opening act. That was kind of cool to hear.
The Magnetic Fields played two sets, just short of an hour each. The set list was quite eclectic; many of the new songs off Realism, but some deep cuts too like a song from The 6ths (side band of Merritts). There was a lot of banter between Claudia and Merritt. Actually, it started while the band was tuning and getting ready to play Merritt commented on how Claudia didn't need to talk. And they kept it going back and forth through the entire show. Some of the playlist included:
- All I Want to Know
- We Are Having a Hootenanny (Claudia said something about Merritt moving to LA)
- You Must Be Out Of Your Mind
- All The Umbrellas in London
- I Don't Want to Get Over You
- The One You Really Love
- The Nun's Litany
- Fear of Trains
- Acoustic Guitar
The last song of the encore was a rather tame 100,000 Fireflies which Claudia mentioned was their only radio hit. I was hoping during the encore to get Papa was a Rodeo, but no luck. Oh, and they did not play Washington, DC.
Oh, we also learned that Merritt has 5 songs about Vampires. Can you name all five (don't read on if you are trying)? I'll give you the one we missed - Born on a Train!
At the end of the night it was wonderful to get out of the hot, humid auditorium, but the show left me wanting more of Stephin Merritt's haunting songs. The perfect end of the night was listening to the Bright Eyes cover of Papa was a Rodeo on the drive home.