Or, How I Learned How To Stop Worrying And Love The Fact That Spent Half My Monthly Paycheck To Go See Ezra Koenig.
I’ve been putting off writing this entry for a while. Partly because I am denial that the day I had been waiting for for a few months now is finally over. This was some far-off point in time that I kept reminding myself about whenever things got a little rough. It was something to look forward to, and now, it’s become something to look back at.
I know people write Vampire Weekend off as hipster shit, seeming to lack longevity in the music scene. Even more people think that they are just pretentious hacks, because they all went to Columbia, and write about sons of diplomats, exotic milky drinks, cultural obscurities, and punctuation marks with specific uses. But I love them. A lot. I loved them enough to do something I had never really done, which was to quite literally go the distance.
(Plus, I don’t think anyone else can write about the subtleties of difference between the flavors of English Breakfast and Darjeeling tea quite like they do.)
I know Singapore isn’t really that far away from Manila, and I suppose that’s why I decided to fly out in the first place. It was, to me, a glimmering opportunity to live out a dream that was always too far away to grasp. My favorite bands seem to like skipping out on Manila on tours, sometimes even skipping out on Asia altogether (
The National, I am looking at you JK, they just literally posted a date for Tokyo. YOU MUST COME TO MANILA), so this was such a tempting situation that I voluntarily got myself into. And it was frakking worth it.
I still get chills and a jolt in my heart whenever I think about how I actually saw them play. I know that when you lay it out, it really doesn’t make any sense. “What’s the big deal?” you are probably asking yourself, but I really don’t know how to explain it. How do I explain that I can probably live off this post-concert high until the end of the year? How do I concretely prove to you that seeing them play songs I’ve looped endlessly and sang along with in showers and hummed and shared with girls I wanted to be friends with and put on mixes for boys I like-liked gave me such a rare and pure sense of joy and excitement?
For more than half the show, I was holding on to my camera, trying to capture the entire thing, trying to pixelize my proof: “I was there, and this is what I felt,” I wanted to be able to say. But then I realized that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Certainly not my feelings. Certainly not my “religious experience,” the real fun and joy I felt, seeing one of my favorite bands up there, sharing what must be this tiny little thing to them with their fans, whose lives are probably changing, even for just a little bit, for just a little while.
My friend, Jamie, is one of the biggest Vampire Weekend fans I know. This is one of the many things that we share with each other—along with a Boy Band That Must Not Be Named, Dunkin Donuts coffee, and a Harry Potter ‘ship—something foundational to our friendship, if you will. I consider her one of my good friends, even though she lives in Oahu and even though we’ve never met. I can count on her to “get” me when I talk about things like this. I can count on her to “get” it and understand that I mean it when I say that seeing this show meant the world to me, how it counts as one of the greatest days of my life. Even though I was rows upon rows of people away. Even though I lost my phone. Even though I have a burning hole in my pocket from paying for the trip. Even though I am now in danger of being fired, since I wasn’t able to do much work while I was away (and because I didn’t really tell anybody).
I know Jamie gets it, and I know some of you might, too. And now, without further ado and without (much) further rambling, here’s the proper concert update that some people have been waiting for.
Vampire Weekend’s setlist. I made an iTunes playlist because that is how I sometimes roll. The last three are the ones from their encore. My brother said Ezra referred to “Walcott” as “Cape Cod,” though I cannot confirm nor deny these allegations, as I was too busy ogling his lovely face.
This was during “Cousins.” I can tell because of the lights, which by the way were really awesome, appropriate, and properly-timed. We really might as well have been watching a light show. I was so impressed.
More photos under the cut. I think you will be able to tell who the (obvious) favorite is, but I just want to say, for the record, I love all of them a lot.
Still can’t quite believe this happened. :)