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Posted Aug 4th, 2015 (10:00 am) by Stacie Sullivan
Image by Theresa Flanagan

The Ben & Jerry's Concerts on the Green series brings a handful of great artists to Shelburne, VT every summer. This past Thursday the series brought the Decemberists and Lady Lamb and I was lucky enough to catch the show.

Rain clouds hovered over the state all day, but they parted ways just in time for fans to filter into the natural amphitheater. Left over rain drops glistened in the sun light and steam rose from the Champlain Valley setting up a perfect night for great music. Shelburne Farms is a great place to catch a show because the venue is on one big hill, with the stage at the bottom. Fans are able to create their own rows by placing blankets and lawn chairs which create a much more relaxed atmosphere than your typical venue. Local food vendors lined the perimeter of the venue so fans could try their local farm to table favorites, sip on cold pint of Fiddlehead, and of course enjoy some free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

The last time IYS caught Lady Lamb was back in April and seeing her open for the Decemberists was a much different experience than watching her headline a sold out show at Signal Kitchen. Aly Spaltro, and her band members, took the stage and immediately went into their set starting with “You Are The Apple” and “Vana Cava.” A handful of fans filtered to the front of the crowd to sing and dance along while the rest enjoyed the set from their own leisure.

Lady Lamb blew through her first few songs before she even introduced herself to the audience. She stating how happy she was that the rain let up for the show, and ended the set with fan favorites “Batter” and “Crane Your Neck.” Unfortunately, her set was only long enough to warm up the crowd. With her catchy lyrics and upbeat attitude, it was a shame she was just the opener.

Colin Meloy stepped onto the stage with a glass of red wine, and soon he began playing the very apropos “The Singer Addresses His Audience.” The rest of the band slowly filtered onto the stage after him making the crowd more and more excited. The set really took off when they played their second song, “July, July!”

It wasn’t until the right before the third song that Meloy actually addressed the crowd, but when he did everyone quickly realized how funny and sarcastic his is. A nice surprise, because the Decemberists always struck me as band who would take themselves too seriously on stage. “Thank you for your patience Vermont, we won’t try it too hard. Actually we will,” Meloy said before playing “Down By The Water.”

After the first few songs dusk was approaching and while the crowd got to watch the sunset happening behind the band, the Decemberists got to watch the moon rise. Meloy commented on how beautiful it was, but then asked who was going to be playing following night under the blue moon. Somehow the band concluded that Korn was playing and quickly started riffing about Korn. There was a kettle corn vendor there, so hopefully when they said “kettle corn $50 a bushel” his sales didn’t go down too much for the night. The jokes continued on as Meloy explained how the next song was written to get his son to eat. It went something like “Hank eat your oatmeal, oh Hank, eat your oatmeal” which then played into “The King is Dead.”

By mid-set the band switched it up and played a few songs off of their recently released What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World.

“I know you all have been listening to our new album non-stop between now and when it came out,” Meloy said before playing “Make You Better.”

As the daylight faded, the moonlight grew brighter and Meloy played one of the Decemberists’ more haunting songs under the almost full moon, “Eli, the Barrow Boy.” As the beautiful melodies and full sound coming from the stage filled the air and rolled over Vermont’s rural hills, they played “The Crane Wife,” "Anti Summersong,” and “Philomena.” Please note that Meloy would like everyone to submit “Philomena” for Summer Jam of 2015. Let’s make this happen folks!

As the night drew on, and as Meloy drank more wine the stage antics became funnier. He asked for everyone to take their hats off and proceeded to conduct the band’s drummer as he sang the national anthem which played into “Sixteen Military Wives.” Meloy also conducted the crowd through the songs la-de-da-da’s with him leading the sing-a-long from a whisper to having everyone singing at the top of their lungs.

The Decemberists closed their set with a couple fan favorites, “O Valencia!” and ironically enough, “A Beginning Song.” As the band left the stage, the crowd felt that the night was still young at only 9:15 so they immediately began shouting for an encore. They returned to the stage to play a lengthy seven song encore to end a perfect night including “The Hazards of Love” both one and four, “The Rake’s Song,” and “The Mariner's Revenge.”

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