Typically, beer bottles scattered on-stage at the Walt Disney Concert Hall doesn’t happen; but Saturday night they were just another instrument in Dave Longstreth’s rock-opera, The Getty Address.
Launching into “I Sit on the Ridge at Dusk,” Longstreth’s facial expression exuded the overwhelming pain that chronicles the journey of Don Henley (yes, of The Eagles) as he tries to discover “the shape of Love.” By way of background, Henley as a the protagonist here is an amalgamation of the singer, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes, literary character Stephen Dedalus, and Longstreth’s brother; however, it’s still very inspired by the ideas on 1976’s Hotel California.
Longstreth donned his acoustic guitar for “But in the Headlights” and the ladies—Angel Deradoorian, Haley Dekle, and Amber Coffman—relaxed in a groove. Deradoorian was at her keyboard, and the trio wore the same cloaks seen at the New York show. While they looked a bit ludicrous, their costumes were appropriate and helped channel the chorus in ancient Greek theater.
Brian McOmber’s frantic drum beats and the whiny of Ken Thompson’s sax catapulted the show beyond the timid opening numbers. Longstreth’s voice grew steady and clear as he sang “I Will Truck” nearly reaching a thunderous chant with many of the performers snapping their fingers. A venue as majestic as the Concert Hall could intimidate any act, but the Brooklyn-based septet performed in the same nerdy style seen months ago at The Troubadour.
And those empty Budweiser bottles colored the quick comedown on “D. Henley’s Dream,” where Longstreth sings, “I love you.” As exuberant as Alan Pierson was conducting, it was completely Longstreth’s show. Just as the protagonist was closer to discovering the shape of Love and the players eased through “Gold Gilt Scabs,” the metallic opening measures of “Ponds & Puddles” literally woke Henley. For the first instant during the show, Longstreth grabbed the mic, the ladies were noticeably singing in English (they sang a lot of nonsensical words until now) and the stage was flooded with a swell of handclaps.
A few moments later and Dekle wonderfully nails her first solo moment on “Tour Along the Potomac,” which introduces Sacagawea as Henley’s guide. It sounded like horse hooves filled the Concert Hall. Nat Baldwin on upright bass and the string section splendidly accompanied the aching on “Drilling Profitably.” In the timeline of the opera, it is dusk again but The Getty Address, as confusing a tale as it is, ended on a celebratory note.
Lengthy applause and a standing ovation followed. Dirty Projectors returned to the stage to perform a handful of songs off of 2009’s Bitte Orca. It is one thing for a band to sound good through headphones, but it is deeply more captivating when they jam with world-class musicians.