Caspian- Live At Old South Church (2012)

Posted: January 9, 2012 by Is This Revolutionary? in Album, Reviews
Tags: , , ,
by David Palmer
Artifacts are important. They provide a touchstone to an event, a person, a group, to a memory. And to this end artifacts are valuable if only to serve as a touchstone, which is why it is important to have such things.

It was a cold late October night in Boston. One of the worst winters in Boston’s history was rapidly approaching, but this night it was just cold and crisp, without a cloud in the sky. The crowds of people crossing Boylston Street and through Copley Square as myself and my best friend climbed the steps from the green line to make our way to Old South Church. A common landmark and popular photo opportunity for visiting tourists, tonight a very special event was taking place. Caspian was to perform live for a special benefit for Amirah.

We arrived early and found a pew about two thirds of the way to the front on the left side. The church was already mostly filled, everyone quietly sitting, while muted conversations took place, each seeming to know how special this night would actually be.

Old South Church is a beautiful place. Stained glass windows, Gothic architecture without being too ostentatious, and muted indirect colorful lighting set a relaxed yet slightly theatrical mood. Caspian took the stage and began to play.

The performance was filled with quiet, loud, joy and sadness each piece flowing together into a seamless wave of music and light. And then the stars came out. Your breathe was lost.

It was perfection, and this is how i chose to remember it, but now I have an artifact from that night.

Fast forward to this past “Last Night On Earth 2011” show where I picked up an advance copy of a live recording from that night (available on 10 January from Mylene Sheath). Having a memory of an event is one thing but to have a tangible artifact, something that documents that memory is something else entirely.

This record is proof that my memory wasn’t overly romanticising the beauty of that moment.

Sycamore is enough evidence of that alone, with the cellist in the introduction and the guitars filling the air, i remember the stars, and the look of bewildered amazement on my best friend’s face as they played that heart breaking ode to hope and joy as it explodes into drums and finally hearing the cheerful audience.

This record documents a very special live Caspian performance and as many times as I’ve seen this band live, nothing will compare to this performance and their special attention to their more pretty songs like Last Rites and The Dove as well as ASA and the always amazing Concrescence.

Five songs in total, but enough to show the range and attention to detail this band has for their music, and the respect they have for it given that they do not take any liberties with their songs in a live setting. What is most interesting is in this live recording you get a sense for this band’s sense of humility and earnestness.

My only hope is that any who has the ability to recognize beauty in music will find this record, and will be able to appreciate how special it is even without being at the performance. It could be one of the most valuable pieces of music in your collection. But if you were there, like me, you will need to have this record.

David Palmer is an Is This Revolutionary? contributor as well as the man behind Sky Flying By, a post-rock/ambient band from Boston. Check them out here.

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