Laurie Anderson at Boulder Theater, 4/25/12
LAURIE ANDERSON @ BOULDER THEATER | 4.25.12
Laurie Anderson probably could have had a career in comedy if she wanted. Her subtle and playful humor last night definitely balanced the ominous atmospheres and dark low end that washed around many of the sections of her performance. At one point, she joked about how when Paul Revere was on his famous ride crying out, "The British are coming!" many who heard him probably thought, "Aren't we all British? What's he yelling about?" She then noted how over two hundred years later that since the enemy was not coming, we concluded that we must be the enemy.
Before Anderson took the stage, it was strewn with electronic tea candles that cast an orange glow on the rest of the stage, which was flooded in red light. To the left side was a cushioned chair next to a screen upon which was projected a grey pattern. The sounds of crickets in the summer floated through the room. When Anderson came on, she played her violin through some of kinds of processing that made it sound colossal and deep with a rumbling low end. At this point, the stage lights turned blue with points of orange light from the candles for an effect that made the whole scene more vibrant. Anderson then spoke and her deep, but unmistakably feminine, voice cut through the atmospheric background tones.
Anderson told us she'd been reading a book about evolution and how Darwin said the peacock tail made him sick. And from there, she treated us to a narrative about the Victorian era and how science was a threat to the Catholic religion because if there were other planets like ours maybe there would be other Popes and which one would be the true Pope? Anderson then deftly wove that narrative into the idea of calling the planet we live on Dirt. Because "it's organic and funky like us." As she spoke, Anderson sometimes manipulated her electronics and played violin at once for a sort of multi-tasking that not many other musicians or artists in general do.
During a mostly spoken interlude, Anderson said that if we didn't have regrets, we wouldn't have any music. Because, "Like the great Willie Nelson said, 'Everyone ends up with the wrong person.'" Later on, she talked about the progress bar for a download and said, "Wouldn't it be great to have the progress bar for everyday life situations like conversations?" Then joked about various situations in which that might come in handy when talking with friends, family, co-workers and strangers.