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Watching 20 people come on to a stage to play music can never get boring. Each member slowly takes the stage and gets set up for the evening. After they’re set, the leader of the ensemble comes on stage with a huge smile on his face and takes the mic and welcomes everyone to the show. This is how The Polyphonic Spree started their 15 year celebration of The Beginning Stages of… at the Highline Ballroom. From the moment the band took the stage, the crowd was jumping, singing, and dancing along with the band for close to two hours.
Tim thanked the crowd throughout the night for supporting the band over the past 15 years starting with this album and continuing to show up when they come around today. The album still sounded fresh and the first nine songs blew by in a flash. The amount of instrumentation and orchestration on the album was reproduced by the current band perfectly. The climax of the album of “Solider Girl” into “Light & Day/Reach for the Sun” was as euphoric a moment at a concert that you can ask for. As the band took a short break the instrumental track that closes out the album, “A Long Day,” played over the sound system.
When they band came back out, they had changed from all white robes to more colorful ones to play various selections from the rest of their catalog. Starting off this portion of the set was a triple shot of “Love,” “Together We’re Heavy,” and “Hold Me Now”. Tim easily had the crowd in the palm of his hand during the entire show, but during the second half he seemed to command them even more so. Covering “Porpoise Song” by The Monkees and “Lithium” by Nirvana was a great way to end the set. During the latter of the two, Tim went into the crowd as smiley face balloons were dropped onto the crowd and sang the rest of the song in the middle of it all. They closed the show out with “When The Fool Becomes A King” and an introduction of each band member. Tim made sure each member was given a moment in the spot light. Though the band is essentially his, without the massive orchestra behind him, the beautiful songs that he has concocted for this band would fall flat. Tim promised to celebrate the album again in another 15 years and one can only hope he wasn’t kidding.
Opening the show was Marrow 95, a band that had supported a Polyphonic Spree Kick-Starter. The three piece band played a very short set of easy listening acoustic tunes. The middle slot went to Corn Mo, who not only has a great voice but was also hilarious. In between songs he rambled on in stream of consciousness monologues, that were comedy gold, but always somehow tied right into the next song he was to play. His stories involved how he used to be a member of the band in 2003 and 2004, met and hugged David Bowie, wanting to open for Tiny Tim, and for the last song how he was asked to make “Hava Nagila” a rock song for a Bar Mitzvah. As it turns out he made up words for the tune and made it into an 80’s hair metal song. Corn Mo is an act to make sure not to miss if he is playing with or opening for someone.