Music in Dublin

Edward Sharpe at the Olympia Theater

Today is the day. I am finally going to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I saw the poster for their concert on the first day I arrived in Dublin and I knew I had to go. I paid 25€ for the tickets; a bit more than I would have spent if I saw them back in New Orleans. I had the opportunity to see them in October of 2010 but flaked on the last minute. As I’ve been listening to their new album, Here, I knew that I was not going to let anything stop me this time.

The large red and white stained glass overhang of The Olympia Theater comes into view. The theater is on Dame Street, just a few blocks from Trinity College. Large men in white security uniforms direct me to the side entrance down an ally next to the theater. People are crowded outside smoking cigarettes and drinking beer from their plastic cups. The band hasn’t started yet but I can hear a solo guitar/vocalist singing into a microphone from outside. I lean against the wall and take a few deep breaths, it is windy and the clouds are threating me with the possibility of sudden down pour. With my fishnet orange shirt and colorful miniskirt, I am too cold to wait out the opening act anymore. I head to the door and a tall man in a tuxedo scans my ticket.

I climb up a few flights of red carpet stairs; the top reveals the magnificence of an old theater. The theater was first built in 1879 and has undergone much renovation since then. The overall aura of the theater however, alludes to the conscious effort in maintaining it’s historical structure. My seat is on the second level balcony, row K seat 9. I have a perfect view of the stage and my aisle seat leaves me room to get up and dance. The theater is massive and continues its red and white color scheme with red walls and movie theater style seats. My line of sight is not at all interfered by the white columns and white trimmed arches of the balcony railings. The theater has been used as a venue for music shows to musicals and plays. Bands such as Golgol Bordello, The Darkness, Sigur Rós, Arcade Fire, The Shins and Iron & Wine have also performed there. Even Germain and Bret (Flight of the Conchords) had a gig in the very same theater that I am looking at now. I let my eyes linger over every detail of the stage layout and take in the crowd . All of the great music and memories that must have been made here! The thought is almost too overwhelming, my mouth becomes dry and I search for the bar.

In the back of every level of the theater, a barroom lies hidden between double sliding doors. I lean up against the counter to order a Guinness. Despite the majestic look of the theater itself, the bar is nothing more than a large room with a few tables and a narrow wooden counter perpendicular to the wall. People are sitting comfortably with drinks in their hands appearing giddy and friendly. A sign on the bar’s back mirror reads, CASH ONLY. Surprised and disappointed with this quirk, I head back to my seat, beer-less.

No one is sitting next to me when the lights dim but I am more excited than ever. The band makes their way onto the stage and attribute the whole, “We love this city” spiel. Alexander is wearing his typical white long johns and Jade looks as cute as a button in a black velvet French maid style mini-dress. The concert was amazing. I stood and danced in the aisle most of the time, even when no one else did. I do wish I had gotten a ticket to stand in front of the stage though; the band sang, danced and interacted with the crowd. They played all of my favorites starting with Man On Fire, then with 40-Day Dream, and Janglin. Alexander even sang Truth, from his solo album. Their sound is upbeat and their lyrics resonate in the chords of my soul.

“Die off like the ocean waves we leave it
It’s true we’ll love,
We love each other
Lay down your arms
Lay down your guns
And we love all
And free your arms
No one knows I see the love
From the darkness river
To a place we’ve not yet gone yet
 go
We all yet doubted the river of love” – Fiya Wata

They end with their ever so popular song, Home. Everyone is out of their seats and Alexander is dancing wildly on stage. Jade nearly trips over the bassist’s microphone but the crowd keeps cheering and singing without missing a beat. After a stressful week, this show lifted a heavy weight off of my chest. The theater was luxurious and almost as beautiful as the music itself, what a night!

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