Thievery Corporation 09/01/11

I got lucky. With a trip booked overseas, and no chance to change plans, I gasped when I found out that one of my favorite groups, Thievery Corporation, would be in the state and playing at a venue I’d never been to. The only issue was the price, and while it was pricey, it really wasn’t an opportunity I was willing to pass up.

And I didn’t.

The venue, Red Butte Gardens, is located up on the mountainside, just adjacent to the campus of the University of Utah. It’s pretty spectacular, nestled into a canyon, making a great amphitheater. The stage was pretty cool, and the seating was grass. Oh, it was also BYOB and people were having a party!

The opener, Shana Halligan, was the lead vocalist for Bitter:Sweet, a group whose sound I was familiar with. They did a great opening 45 minutes or so, getting the crowd into it and doing an excellent job at it. Great performance and very talented live act. I’m not surprised that Thievery Corporation has them open.

The main act was an epic journey. It took a while, an eternity it felt, but the band did come out and we were treated to Thievery Corporation in a way few ever will; live and instrumental.

Any classic cut from the group you can think of was represented. Richest Man in Babylon, Lebanese Blonde, Sound the Alarm, etc… and with the vocalists we’ve all become accustomed to. Indeed, they even brought the very dynamic duo of See-I out to perform on at least a dozen tracks. To that end, the gifted Mr. Lif was brought along to perform the title track from their latest album, Culture of Fear. It was grand.

The talent on the stage was absolute. Percussion, guitar, bass, sitar, sampling, everything. I was simply fascinated, track after track, at the quality of the show. The audience knew these tracks and the energy was indeed filling the air, blending with the sound. The audience and band appreciated each other, and it built up to an incredible tempo.

Excellent show, and I’m so very pleased I was able to see the show and experience the vibe that Thievery Corporation brings. It was great to see Rob Garza, one of the two founding members, come out and introduce each and every member of the group, and the group introduce and embarrass him in turn.