People were lining up for this show, the first Bright Eyes performance in Winnipeg, from around 5:30 pm. The floor seats were rush seating, which gave everyone the promise of seeing the band up close, so long as concertgoers managed to show up early enough. They advertised the show starting at 7:30, which would suggest that the doors would open an hour early. Wrong! The doors opened around 6:50.
As I briskly walked in, I noticed that the merchandise booth was completely empty. I confirmed with one of the security people that there was no merch on sale, which was a first for me. With the passionate crowd that showed up, surely they could have sold hundreds of t-shirts and hoodies.
I managed to sit in an aisle seat in the fourth row. I chose that seat so that I would have easy access to the stage, when they allowed us to move up for a closer view. It was interesting to hear the security staff indicate to the crowd who were about to storm the front of the stage that they would be clearing the floor after the opening act, Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals. Since all the seats on the floor were rush seating, that meant you would be giving up your seat to see the opening act, and then would have to find another seat when the floor was cleared. Several groups of people quickly realized the dilemma they faced and opted to return to their seats.
The mostly 20-something and younger crowd were in a good mood and gave opener Gruff Rhys a polite response as he performed alone with guitar, keyboards and quirky electronic devices designed to produce an atmosphere of bird sounds. Like Son of Dave, who I saw perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival a while ago, Gruff would record himself as he sang and played instruments and then immediately play the recording back as he played and sang another part. It was fun and daring and easily won over the crowd.