Jeff Mangum, Crescent Ballroom, 3/28/13
Author's Interpretation of the show. A rendition of last night's show. Jeff Mangum doesn't allow photos, so I drew this in the dark.
Jeff Mangum @ Crescent Ballroom|3/28/13
Okay, so it's announced that Jeff Mangum is coming to town and he has two shows the same night. That means I have to choose. Which one? Which one! Will he play the same songs twice? If so, the second half is bound to suck, right, because he's gonna be tired and bored, right? But what if he doesn't? What if he's way more drunk the second time around and he plays all Neutral Milk Hotel songs and everyone sings along because we're all way more drunk, too?
These are things you can't help thinking, especially since it's Mangum's first show in Phoenix since the dawn of time. Which one? Which one? Doesn't matter now. I've waited seven minutes and now the first show is sold out. But later, I learn my awesome friend bought two tickets to the second half and he invited me. It turns out, it didn't really matter which showing we went to. My neurotic head just needs to relax, as I'm often told.
We met another friend at Crescent and he gave us the rundown from the earlier show. Someone shouted, "Thanks for saving my life." And Mangum responded, "Thanks for saving mine."
Mangum refuses pictures or recording in his shows, so much that he'll stop playing if he sees you fiddling with your iPhone. I was warned by security multiple times, so my camera hung limp and flaccid on my neck the entire show.
Good! I hate people who take photos at shows. I even loathe taking photographs myself, because that's a moment when I'm thinking about aperture or shutter speed instead of getting lost in the music. So, instead, I drew what I saw. I don't care if it sucks, it was in the dark and I had better things to do, like listen to the music.
What I saw was wondrous. I understand now why some see a Jeff Mangum concert as a rite of passage. I mean, it really isn't and let's not take ourselves too seriously, but you don't exactly come away the same.
It seems everyone who has ever listened to In the Aeroplane over the Sea has a special, unique relationship with that album, so I'll spare you my own. Just insert your own personal feelings here and that'll explain why everyone in this crowd was so fucking happy, present company included.