Indigo Girls Rock the DCA

It takes a fair amount to get a Door Community Auditorium audience on their feet. The Indigo Girls, in a concert that clearly demonstrated that, after over 20 years, they’ve still “got it,” brought the audience to their feet not once, not twice, but three times.

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are totally in sync, each woman’s voice completely different and yet perfectly complimenting the other’s. Ray’s low, sometimes gravelly, rock and roll voice next to Saliers’ more traditional soprano makes for a wide range of songs, variability in their work, and truly lovely choruses.

Their set list included songs from past and present, and the title track “Love of Our Lives” off of their new album, Staring Down the Brilliant Dream, was fresh and beautiful, with lyrics like:

I open my hands up to see what I’ve got
My days slip like coins into a slot they are gone
And the shadows lie long
I’ve been banking on a broken machine, left unattended like most of my dreams
Rusty components of an unmarked song
We’ve been staring down the brilliant dream, the sun burns our eyes
We’ve been fighting for the love of our lives

“It’s so nice to have new songs to sing,” Saliers said afterward. Throughout the performance, the audience welcomed their new tunes and enjoyed the classics. It was exciting to hear their music change and grow with the times as well as be soothed by songs of old.

Both women warmed fans with compliments of Door County’s food and landscapes, with Saliers commenting that she’d like to come back and vacation here.

Their power as singers and songwriters has always been apparent, but it was a particular pleasure to see them rock on the guitar. The live performance highlighted both women’s guitar playing skills, and there were several solos.

The song, “Chickenman,” off the album Rites of Passage, was fantastic and showed the height of their vocal range, guitar playing ability, and performance presence. A relatively long song, it dipped and rose, gave way to instrumental breaks, and returned again with full force and a raucous applause.

Far from being pigeonholed as having strictly Indie or Folk music, they rocked the song, “Go, Go, Go,” off of 1200 Curfews, with incredible energy. The song’s a good example of how their rock meets politics:

through the dust bowl
through the debt
grandma was a suffragette
blacklisted for her publication
blacklisted for my generation
go go go

raise your hands
raise your hands high
don’t take a seat
don’t stand aside
this time
don’t assume anything
just go go go

All through the evening people clapped, hooted and hollered, and sat in awe. These two ladies challenge each other and still performing with gusto. Their progressive, sometimes political lyrics serve them in their efforts to openly support the gay community.

They have a real ability to bring everything to their music. It’s full of soul and struggle, love and loss. You feel their ups and downs, their human-ness, in the music.

Other anecdotes from the evening included Saliers getting lost on Peninsula State Park’s sunset trail, Ray seeing an Indigo Bunting, and sing-a-longs to old favorites: “Closer to Fine” (brought the audience to their feet the first time) and “Galileo” (encore song).

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~ by bjordt on July 15, 2011.

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