This past Monday I got the opportunity to go see the group Bon Iver at the Shrine Auditorium. Just two blocks from my apartment, the Shrine is an awesome venue that, until Monday, I had never been inside. All day I was looking forward to the event. Although I love my position in the astronautics lab on campus, the hours seemed to crawl by as I was waiting for the night to roll around. I barely made it through my entrepreneurship class (we were talking about risk assessment in business ventures- the less glorious but still necessary side of entrepreneurship). After class I hurried to my fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, to have dinner with my fraternity brothers, then went to pick up a friend I was going to the show with. Finally, strolling up to the auditorium a few minutes before the scheduled time, my friend and I were relieved that we didn’t have to worry about parking, since hundreds of people were scrambling to find a parking spot and run into the sold-out theater.
I have to admit, I didn’t know anything about Bon Iver before going, although I had heard their popular song “Skinny Love” a few times. When the opening band got on stage, I thought it was the headlining act, and quickly realized that it was another band I knew little about- “Other Lives”. Sitting in the first section and just right of the stage, we had pretty good seats, and the sound quality from such a large auditorium was surprisingly clear. We sat listening to the folk-rock band for a half hour before the intermission came and a dozen or more sound technicians ran onto the stage to set up for Bon Iver.
When Bon Iver entered the stage, the Shrine became electric. I knew I was at a good concert because fans were jumping out of their seats and screaming, “I love you Bon Iver,” and “You’re freaking awesome man”. The first song matched the crowd’s intensity. Not at all like what I remembered “Skinny Love” to sound like, Bon Iver came out with electric guitars and synths to an equally insane light show that continued throughout the whole concert. Seven towers lined the back of the stage, and with every hard-hitting chorus the towers would shower light on the band. My favorite musician of the bunch was a huge trombone player named “Reggie”, mainly because not only did he make the trombone look like a tiny trumpet in his hands, but he also beat-boxed for an entire song and was able to make more drum noises with his mouth than the actual drummer was with his drumset.
After playing for a solid hour, Bon Iver exited, came on for an encore, and left again for good. I had a great time going to see live music so close to where I live, and I’m happy to say I have added two new bands to my iTunes library!