We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11)

Can a live set be called "stripped down" when it has a 16-minute folk- rock opus, a yodeling drummer and nautical themed audience participation? In the case of a band as overweeningly theatrical as the Decemberists can be, the answer is...  kinda. This is a surprisingly crisp live LP, even at two discs: taut and driving, full of Celtic and country flourishes, held together by richly melodic tunes. Even grandiose moments have kick; the 10-minute "I Was Meant for the Stage" goes from ballad bonhomie to guitar wailing and free-jazz fanfare – a sweet explosion to singe your sweater vest.

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Photos: Random Notes

From The Archives Issue 1152: March 15, 2012