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Concert Experience

Vampire Weekend and the total eclipse of my heart

May 21, 2024
Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performing in Austin April 8, 2024

This was the third time I’ve been to a Vampire Weekend show and I certainly hope it won’t be my last.

My first time – my third concert ever and first in a mosh pit – was with my sister and friend on VW’s Sydney, Australia stop of their Modern Vampires of the City tour in January 2014, mightily kicking off my last year of high school.

Ezra Koenig and company came through Sydney again in January 2020 to celebrate their album Father of the Bride, and my sister camped out for 8 hours to claim a barricade position. Ezra asked the crowd who had been to their last Australian show and my sister and I positively YELLED, kindling some light conversation. I cried to Hannah Hunt.

Four years later, on the other side of the world, I saw them for the third time for their very special Solar Eclipse show in Austin to start their tour for Only God Was Above Us – and it really was one of the most magical shows I’ve ever seen.

Vampire Weekend walked on stage to Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart and the crowd roared. They dived straight into live debuts of Ice Cream Piano and Classical, before playing older favourites, Unbelievers and Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa. The show winded through newbies from OGWAU, deep cuts (does Jonathan Low from the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack count as a deep cut?) and reworks (10-minute Flower Moon just before breaking for totality).

The crowd collectively oohed and ahhed as the eclipse ebbed and flowed behind the clouds. Whenever some rays shined through, a wave of people could be seen turning around and putting on their glasses to peer up at the sun – which sat in the sky opposite the stage – before everyone went back to enjoying the show. Vampire Weekend gave us a little intermission to experience totality with our loved ones.

As Austin grew darker and building lights flickered on, the cloud cover parted for what felt like a miraculous minute, maybe only a second, and you could see the ring of fire around the moon in all its glory. The crowd cheered. I shed a few tears.

The show kicked into another gear post-totality. There were a handful of special appearances, though really the whole concert was such a delight.

Dave1 of Chromeo came on to play Needy Girl and Brian Robert Jones (who previously toured with Vampire Weekend and is currently doing so with Paramore) offered up some shredding for Harmony Hall. My favourite of them all was when Vampire Weekend brought out Thomas Mars of Phoenix to play Tonight, which Koenig featured on. Phoenix is special to me for many reasons and witnessing this collaboration live was ridiculous in the best way. Dave1 and Thomas Mars sang Ezra happy birthday in French as that very same day was his 40th – a true aligning of stars.

Vampire Weekend closed out their show with some classics (Oxford Comma, A-Punk and Walcott) and the most chaotic mashup, known as Cocaine Cowboys. It was joyous, it was euphoric. I can’t imagine a better way to have spent this phenomenon. It’ll take a while for me to stop talking about it.*

Vampire Weekend. Five albums in stores now.

*I had been talking about this show since they announced it because I wasn’t able to land tickets for any of the presales or general sales. Anyone who listened to my radio show would know I brought it up at least once every show. I’d really like to thank the KANM PR team and Nasty Little Man who helped me land a press pass to this and for making this unforgettable experience possible.

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