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Photo Recap: Yo La Tengo at Fox Theater 2.22

February 24, 2011

photos via marispacifica

Good to know: when the Fox Theater says a show starts at 8pm, it doesn’t really mean 9. Between getting there late (nothing in Oakland should start at 8!) and running around exploring the Fox Theater for the first time, we hardly noticed the Wheel of Fortune being spun to determine the set list for Yo La Tengo, an indie institution oft-praised by mentors belonging to a generation cooler than my own.

Hey, I have 3 albums- I thought that was pretty legit- but nay, I have much catching up to do. These guys have been playing since I was a year old, and my newbie-ness felt increasingly obvious as the night went on. There’s a pretty awesome breakdown of the show over at Spinning Platters, so I’ll spare myself the effort. I would like to point out that personal highlights came in the form of covers-  Beautiful Ones by Prince was a gentlemanly nod to the guy who’s arguably upstaging the entire Noise Pop Festival single handedly, and the encore cover of the Rolling Stones’ Rice Krispies Jingle (what?) was humorously rousing.

The show also included some impressively long reputable jams, which were highly appreciated in an altered state, but these were actually no match for the quiet numbers. I was struck by the sweet and haunting lyrics of “Gentle Hour”, “It’s such a pleasure to touch your skin/ To touch your skin / It’s such a pleasure to touch your heart / To touch your heart / I can hardly wait…” And the amazing harmony of the night’s closer “Alyda” totally floored me- I wish I could have gotten a shot of the three of them singing together, but perhaps it’s better this way.

They say with age comes grace, and YLT proves it. Similar to a veteran pilot, their satisfying performance was executed calmly and expertly with little pomp or flair- you think nothing of the ride you just took until you stop and realize, HOLY SHIT WE WERE FLYING.

more pics on flickr.

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