Friday, June 29, 2018

Happy Release Day

Indigo Girls:
Live with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra

First Impressions
June 28th 2018 10pm
Colin & Jonath

Jonath and I have been seeing shows together since 2005. The first was a festival in Camden, New Jersey and our most recent were last week in Kirkland and Seattle, WA. We’ve each seen their Symphony Show multiple times, though were lucky enough to both be in attendance in Portland, Oregon, March 2017, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

            We’ve been anxious to hear the album’s production and mixing since some of the orchestral sounds have a tendency to be drowned out by guitar and vocals in the live performances (ex: the drums). However, the four singles that were released over the past month (Go, Galileo, Kid Fears, Closer To Fine) have all sounded amazingly well-balanced and we’re thrilled to hear the rest!

            My preorder packages should arrived soon! Though, thank you, Spotify, for launching the album a few hours before the official Release Day on the West Coast allowing Jonath and I to text “on a kind of a telephone line through time” about our first impressions last night!

Jonath: Album live on Spotify!!!!
Colin: OMG! I just tripped over my cat. Grabbing my computer!
Florence, South Carolina
Act I


            First of all, it has a newly formatted title! On both Swamp Ophelia and Staring Down The Brilliant Dream, it’s The Wood Song. Now, it has morphed into the magical Woodsong. Also, the first half of this album’s order was slightly rearranged from how the set was actually played that night. Moving Woodsong to the top feels like you’re walking through a garden foyer into the Symphony.  It’s a great opener. Classic! Though I miss Lyris’ intro, Emily’s voice starts this album off strong! The Orchestra starts quiet but gets crankin’ midway through.

Colin: I always sing, “The grass is always worth the rocky ride.” I know the real lyric, but I’ve been singing it like that since I was a kid so it always slips out.
Jonath: I have so many misheard lyrics… it doesn’t matter because the songs still make me feel so happy.

Sugar Tongue

            This song has consistently evolved over the years! I remember when the acoustic bootlegs of just Amy and her guitar started circulating through the fans. She even joked that she needed Tomi Martin to play the guitar solo! Then Sugar Tongue got the added band arrangement on Poseidon and the Bittterbug, with Emily nailing the solo on both the band and acoustic versions. The tour to support Poseidon was an acoustic tour with Julie Wolf on keys and accordion. Sugar Tongue got Wolf’d with 2 acoustic guitars and a key arrangement. Then it reached its glory with the Symphony arrangement - my favorite version. But just last week, Sugar Tongue came back to the set list, totally stripped down; Another new arrangement with Amy on the electric Gibson and Emily on acoustic 6-string! Amy forgot a chord and some lyrics, but I was blown away with the balance of both the simplicity and the force that the song encapsulated. At the Portland Zoo, she was able to redeem herself with a crystal clear copy.

Colin: This chorus is amazing! It’s one of my favorite parts of the entire live show. The guitars fade right out and the symphony hits ya in the face! But Kirkland with the fuck-ups may be my favorite live Sugar Tongue ever.
Jonath: She did a great job! Even with the hums!
Colin: I also feel like this song was made for a symphony. I wonder if Amy could hear them when she was writing it?

Able To Sing
First official live release!

            Usually, at a normal IG show, this song is tucked into the second half. It was actually played as the 9th song at this show after Yoke, but was bumped up for the album. With the shiny orchestra intro, I feel like it certainly belongs near the beginning.

Jonath: I love the lyrics but it’s a bit too wordy and metaphorical to follow.
Colin: I thought I remember you saying the first time you heard this song was with the Seattle Symphony and you really loved the version?
Jonath: Hmmm… the song I told you about was Feed and Water The Horses! <3
Colin: Ohhh! Which is the one song that has a symphony arrangement song that didn’t make the cut in Colorado. I was hoping for an Atlanta Symphony soundboard bonus track!
Jonath: I know Emily loves Able To Sing.
Colin: It’s one of her favorite songs right now! Lately, she gushes over Lucy’s harmonies and recounts her memories of when she wrote it! She puts a whole political spin on it. #TruthIntoPower It’s taken a while to grow on me, though resonates more now than ever before. I remember when those damn birds fell out of the sky! At this point, it really brings me back.
            I’m certain they will play this with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pop’s at the Hatch Shell on the Forth of July celebration. I’m devastated that I won’t be home for it. I’ve been waiting years for their moment with the Boston Pops – I could cry just thinking about it.

First official live release!
Colin: Oh my god, Compromise! Awesome intro. Perfectly mixed with the acoustic nestled in the back.
Jonath: Amy is attacking it!
Colin: Each time I’ve seen this live, the symphonies have been tight and University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra is no different!
Jonath: It sounds foreboding AF, in millennial speak. All those deep winds!
e: Yaaas!

Virginia Wolf

Colin: The transitions between songs have been quite nice.
Jonath: I’m in love with the beginning of Virginia Wolf. It holds a deep place in my heart.
Colin: It’s gorgeous! Another song I love Lyris in as well. She adds so much heart to VA Wolf, but the heart doesn’t get much more full than with a whole symphony orchestra! I’m loving the delicate strings in the back after the final, epic, “it’s alriiiiiight…”

Happy In The Sorrow Key

First official live release!

Colin: Intro strings kinda pick up where the last ones left off! Oh, urgent horns! I like the arrangement, though I remember it having more of an impact when we saw it live. The ending is solid! Aw, you can barely hear the “Thanks Y’all” at the end.

            This is another song that seems written for a symphony, and I am thrilled that One Lost Day is being represented! The Symphony even brings Jordan Brooke Hamlin’s ideas to a whole other level.

Power Of Two

Colin: Po2. I need to pee.
Jonath: LOL!  
Colin: Back! So pretty! Though I’ve heard stronger vocals on this tune before.
Jonath: That tambourine though….
Colin: I love the cascading harp and conga break down at 3:30 in Power of Two after “fool’s gold.”

First official live release!

Jonath: I thought you were peeing through PO2?!
Me: I knew I had to get back to my seat before Yoke!
Jonath: Oh my god. The strings on Yoke! I’m living for this version!
Colin: The instrumental is epic! My head is spinning! I’m gonna have to listen on headphone later to hear it all. It’s like a mystical forest!
Jonath: I know right?! It’s SO good!
Colin: Commercial
Jonath: ::Eye roll:: ...commercialism.

Love Of Our Lives

Colin: I want the strings louder in the intro.
Jonath: Me too! I love the orchestration but it sounds a little muddy.
Me: Where the fuck did the snare drum come from?! I don’t remember that live!
Jonath: Vocals sounded like they were underwater in the third verse.
Me: They were honest about dubbing some vocals. We may be hearing true vocals and enhanced vocals.
Jonath: Oh, that makes sense!
Colin: Oh no! Emily’s voice cracked at the most important part: “how can we help it…”, and then she ran out of breath for the final long note: “…liiiiiiiiiiiives!” L.O.L. opened the show that night, but now I understand why it got bumped further into the set for the album. : /

World Falls

Jonath: World Falls always makes me melt - no matter what version.
Colin: This version is perfect.
Jonath: I honestly would have been in love with a completely studio produced orchestral album. Sure, it would have cost more but it would have been amazing. They spent all the work making arrangements, why not?!
Colin: Agreed. Tori did it!


Jonath: I’m loving the Caribbean vibe!
Me: I’ve really been enjoying this version since it came out last month. I could never get sick of this song, though.
Jonath: Each time I hear this song and Closer to Fine, I hear them again for the first time and am in awe.
Me: The symphony sounds so intricate! It pulls out so many layered elements of this song!


Jonath: Eek! That pushing orchestral rhythm!
Me: Do they do Bitterroot here?
Jonath: I dunno… its 7:45… so it could go either way?
Me: I love the high note horns! This is so good!
Jonath: Better than 1200 Curfews? I feel like it’s a bit milder than 1200 Curfews - the vocals away.
Me: Ohh. That’s a hard one. Less yelling here. They didn’t bend “Queen Streeeeet.”
Jonath: Maybe the yelling is just engrained in me!
Me: These horns make me feel like I’m riding a horse through the Wild West!
Jonath: Definitely getting a Wild West Fantasy mixed with Disney Orchestral arrangement. Is that insulting?
Me: No! Not insulting at all! I love all that!
Jonath: 6:10; the build up!
Me: The last “Chickenman, hold my hand” is pretty on point!

Emily: “We’re gonna take a little break. Ya’ll are incredible.
Act II


Me: Oh my god, Fugitive is next! Shit! Commercial!
Jonath: You’re making me pause for one of my faves?! (Jonath is lucky enough to NOT have commercials!)
Colin: No one stands between me and my Fugitive, Sonic Care!
Jonath: Go away, Sonic Care!
Colin: Oh man! You can hear the symphony warming up! The entire 42-second intro is perfect. I already started it over to listen again! Amy’s voice is so rich!
Jonath: <3 “It’s coming to you, the lesson’s you’ve learned! We are fortunate ones, I swear!”
Me: It’s like the horns are singing back and forth to each other.
Jonath: I can’t tell you how much this song means to me.
Me: Ditto.

Come A Long Way
First official live release!

Jonath: Hee hee. Whose name?!
Me: God.
Jonath: Yup.
Colin: Though I feel like it could also be about someone who supports you through a really, really tough time, one day at a time.
Jonath: That feels more real to me, but I also think its easy to mix up God with someone in your life who helped you.
Me: So True!
Jonath: I mean, they can be the same thing, but God as a blanket term is erasing the humanity and connection of community. It’s important to see God in everything but also to recognize the power we each have individually to affect one another.
Colin: <3 Agreed! “…there is no nation by god exempted. Lay down your weapons and love your neighbor as yourself.” Whoa! 3:25 until the end is amazing! I listened 3 times!
Jonath: ::cymbal crash::
Colin: And the bend of Emily’s notes! And the orchestral steps that add the pounding drama! Theatrical!

War Rugs
First official live release!

Jonath: Not my favorite Indigo song.
Colin: I love it! The melody is captivatingly beautiful I’ve been so excited to hear the xylophone. Oh, Amy speaks! Staring Down The Brilliant Dream lacked spoken song intros. Very nice touch.
Amy: “We want to send this out to all the people in the Middle East who are working so hard for peace and helping all the people who are being hurt so brutally out there.”
Colin: I get some mariachi vibes after the final instrumental break. I feel like Amy is singing the last chorus a bit deeper than she does on the album.


Jonath: “I could go crazy on a night like tonight.”
Colin: Great balance between guitar and symphony in the intro! This is gorgeous. Now, this could be better than 1200 Curfews!

First official live release!

Colin: I love the urgency!
Jonath: I’ve always loved Damo. It’s one of those songs that constantly pushes you forward and doesn’t let you settle.
Me: I hear tambourine!
Jonath: Don’t say that. I don’t want to hear it.
Colin: The cowboys are coming home in the end of this one too! I love the Orchestra version ending! It’s such a slap. AH, my apartment lights are even flickering!

Come On Home

Jonath: WTF?! Is this Come On Home?
Me: To me, ATWLI version Come On Home always sounded like it had more of a supplemental beat track than a full arrangement. I love the SDTBD version the best, but it sounds like a whole new song with the orchestra!
Jonath: I’m in shock. And now I want to hear “bring out your dead.” I mean, Rise Up.
Colin: LMAO

Kids Fears

Colin: This was also already released. Rich and dark. I love this version. But nothing beats Trina Meade’s verse.
Jonath: The people singing in the back! The harp!
Colin: The whining of the symphony is gorgeous! 


Colin: Ohh, floaty!
Jonath: Floaty and melty. Ghost has always been a fave of mine. I’m glad it turned out so well.
Colin: It’s perfect. The high notes in the middle of the song are haunting! I got chills!
Jonath: The orchestral / vocal mix is brilliant!

            Go is one of Amy’s favorite songs right now, which has given it such a renewed energy! She’s been sending it out to the youth who can make a change every night on this current tour, and it was precious to see the kids in her family dance to the song during Sound Check at the Seattle Zoo last week!
            This version is awesome Go was an immediate favorite when it came out last month. The first several times I listened to it, I heard something new each time! I hear so many genres in it. Rock, Marching Band (that instrumental break is fucking epic), and then it cascades into Mariachi for the bridge! Emily tears it up on electric and then we’re back to the high school football field in the background. Amy’s vocals boom crystal clear into a classic symphony final crescendo!

Closer To Fine

            Bouncy and fun! I get a little frantic Disney from this one too! But why are the vocals so far away when they speak to the crowd at the end? Emily introduces the conductor but unfortunately, you can barely hear his name (Gary Lewis). I love the extended applause that fades the Indigo Fantasia out.

Amy Ray, Emily Salier, Gary Lewis & The U of Colorado Symphony Orchestra
            I still think these Symphony shows could end with an encore of Land Of Canaan as an acoustic duo! Give the crowd what they want - they always want more!

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