My (belated) review of the Madison Square Garden show

I saw Interpol perform live for the first time last September, at Madison Square Garden. I am not a “big venue” concert-goer; I much prefer the smaller venues, or even the medium-sized ones like the Bowery Ballroom here in NYC. It is in fact a testament to how much I like Interpol’s music that I didn’t think twice about forgoing my no-big-venues rule to be able to hear them live. Nonetheless, as my friend Elizabeth and I made our way to our seats, the outlook seemed bleak—it felt more like we were going to a hockey game than a concert.

– My distaste for MSG (pun intended) aside, as soon as Interpol began to play I was instantly transported, as I often am when experiencing live the music with which I connect. The band played their songs with passion and their stage presence felt completely genuine to me, so much so that my distance from them physically didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I was able to lose myself in the sound and step into that idealized space where music seems to permeate solid objects.

– One agonizing moment stands out to me about that performance: the band began their set behind a large sheet through which you could see their outlines, but which covered the entire stage. The effect was great for their opening song, “Pioneer to the Falls,” but as that song ended and they began their next song, the sheet remained where it was. I began to have panicked thoughts like “they’re not going to play the whole show behind that sheet are they??” This idea was torture to me, to be in the same room with them, but blocked from them at the same time! Finally, Paul acknowledged technical difficulties, and my fears were somewhat allayed. When they finally got the sheet down, the crowd (myself included) cheered ecstatically.

– Hearing Interpol live made me conscious of how many of their songs encourage movement; sometimes dancing, sometimes just simply movement. All throughout “Rest My Chemistry,” I found myself wanting to sway and twist with the rising and falling of the bass line, and likewise moving with the syncopated drum hits during the chorus of “Not Even Jail.” I think this aspect of Interpol’s music contributes to the “addictive” quality I addressed in my October 30th, 2007 entry. Their songs often inspire both thought and motion.

– Most of the concert is a blur of ecstatic sound for me, but I do remember that they played quite a few songs, and came back for an encore. I could have stayed there all night, but I certainly didn’t feel cheated when they finally left the stage. I do hope I get to see them again.

Watch next time for more from the “favourite seconds” thread!

Until then,
Much love from,


~ by megwilhoite on March 27, 2008.

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