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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dear Friends - Elbow

I am completely and utterly in love with this song at the moment. The final track off Elbow's newish album Build a Rocket Boys, it again takes as its theme the loss of Bryan Glancy, a Manchester singer-songwriter and a great friend of the band, whose death also inspired many of the songs on their breakthrough album The Seldom Seen Kid.

I was travelling back to Canberra from Kiama this weekend, navigating the hairpin roads that cross the mountains that lie either side of the Kangaroo Valley. This song was playing in the car as the wind took thousands of petals from the white cherry blossom trees that lined the road, and tossing them up into the sky, brought them back to earth in a fragrant snow storm around the car. I was the only one there. It was a  special gift for one.

Anyway, this version of Dear Friends was performed and recorded for a Dutch radio station. There are definitely arty-er, more vimeo-esque clean-cut videos of this song out there, but I feel like this is a great performance. Something special happens in the room about halfway through. You can sense it in the look Guy gives at 3.01. The drummer starts moving his shoulders slightly more. Guy Garvey gets more animated. The violinists can't stop smiling. I feel like Guy may have been hung over, and dreading the early morning performance - a promotional pit stop on a long tour across Europe. It's almost as if they didn't expect it to be magical.

But then they just couldn't help it. The music was stronger.

ps. The Dutch radio host also brought a nostalgic smile to my face. "They did it."
pps. Sorry about the ads. Close them as quickly as possible. The video replays without ads.

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