Thievery Corporation was... massive. You know when you get an album (is that still what we're calling a series of tracks purchased together? That sounds so quaint and archaic now...) and the opening track just sort of grabs you by certain bits, and you go "I bet you they'll open the show with that." Yeah, they did...

The stage set was a very cool minimalist approach. The front of Rob & Eric's decks was a panel of LED's, as was the entire stage-spanning back-drop and side-panels stage left & right. When the air-horn for "Sound The Alarm" went off, the house went black, the panels all went to white (initially blinding the audience, but not painfully so) then as your eves adjusted and the beat dropped on you, all you could see were Rob & Eric as black silhouettes moving to the beat behind the decks. It was a very cool effect. You soon saw that the LED banks were not merely LED's, but video arrays, and before the end of the track, the entire stage set was transformed into a moving video image. Again, it may have been simple and at times understated, but was more often that not visually striking.

Ashish Vyas was a monster on the bass as always. What a feel player he is. It was very cool to actually hear his bass over the back-tracks. So often sample-driven artists go for the bass from their recording as a groove anchor for the audience because it's so familiar. It was a treat to actually feel the groove from Vyas. He was even doing a few different things from the album. The entire night was excellent, with no less than seven different live vocalists, live sitar, two live percussionists, live horns and a crowd that was both massive (the show was sold-out) and exceptionally friendly. The grove just grabbed you up and made you move. Honestly, if you didn't dance, you looked out of place.

It was also very cool to see such a varied crowd. Young dreaded-out neo-hippie chiqs, cap-wearing college dudes, 50-60-something beach-people, Arcata travelers, and us 40-somethings who wanted to move to the beat. It was as eclectic a crowd as the music. That was inspiring. The girl and I had a great time dancing (the best aerobic work-out bar-none), and only escaped the show about 20min early, watching the rest from the CCTV feed to the projector down-stairs in the bar. I even got to hear a few tracks that I didn't expect them to do at all, like The Heart's a Lonely Hunter (with vocals handled by
Frank Orrall [a founding member of Poi Dog Pondering, and one of Thievery Corporation’s touring percussionists] singing David Byrne's part). That one left me a bit flat, but not for his lack of effort, but just the difference in approach. One gets used to hearing David Byrne sing David Byrne. We also got Warning Shots, which I was only mildly disappointed to be down in the bar for.

Over-all, this really was a tour-de-force for Rob & Eric, and was probably the best show I've seen in the past calendar year. Admittedly, the Sisters of Mercy show was old-school fun, but their smoke-machines didn't make me feel quite as good as a nice, live hit of Lebanese Blonde...