The Magnetic Fields @ Atlanta Symphony Hall, 10.17.08

I’m one of these folks who came in late to the game. I got 69 Love Songs a couple of years ago and realized The Magnetic Fields was a great band. I never really expected to see the band live anywhere. I thought they’d broken up. Fortunately for me, they went on tour this year, and though they didn’t play any of the songs I was hoping to hear – songs I’m familiar with – they put on a great show.

The Atlanta Symphony Hall is a good venue to see a show like this. With this band, there is no drum kit, no distorted guitars…just acoustic instruments, microphones and the necessary amps for those instruments. The sound was superb. I’d heard other reviews mention the “recital” quality of the shows and I’d agree with that description. What was most impressive was how well everyone’s voices sounded. The depth and character of Stephen Merritt’s voice was captured perfectly. Having seen a lot of shows, I’m always impressed when a singer’s voice matches or exceeds what is heard on the recordings, and The Magnetic Fields achieved this. I’d go so far as to say they put on a flawless show.

My only disappointment was that they didn’t play some of the tunes I was hoping to hear. At one point during the show, someone in the audience called out a request and the band announced they weren’t doing any requests. Just what was on the paper.

There is no smoking or drinking in the theater. However, there were 2 drink stands just outside the theater in the lobby where drinking was permitted. They had beer in bottles, wine and some mixed drinks…the typical theater fare. Prices were decent.

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