Concert review: Belle and Sebastian and Julien Baker at the Palace Theater in St. Paul, MN – August 15, 2017

Published by JB on August 16, 2017

10 notable things from the Belle and Sebastian show at the Palace Theater

  1. When Stuart Murdoch talks to the crowd, you can hear every word, and easily.   It’s crystal clear.  What is he doing that every other artist seems to fail on?   It’s such an added pleasure to enjoy the banter!
  2. Murdoch, sadly so, has slowed down his dancing.  He mentioned during the show about arthritic knees and his dancing is far less prevalent than shows in the past, most notably when he turned the stage of the Orpheum Theater in 2006 into his personal dance studio during the Life Pursuit tour.  This is a sad loss to a man that could truly glide across a stage.

    Belle and Sebastian at the Palace Theater

  3. This continues to be one of the most fan-friendly theaters I’ve ever been to (the sightlines are outstanding!) but the crowd chatter during Julie Baker’s opening act was nothing short of embarrassing.   This is a trend for the Palace Theater, and it should get fixed. Everyone talking during her acoustic set is an asshole, which was about 15o0 people.
  4. Belle and Sebastian’s new song “We Were Beautiful” wasn’t all that warmly received; it’s below par from their normal output.
  5. The legacy material from Tigermilk and If You’re Feeling Sinister was again, sublime.  It puts Murdoch back into his comfort zone, which says a lot since he vacillates seamlessly between dancefloor gems and acoustic indie tunes.
  6. ‘The Boy With the Arab Strap’ with its dazzling Paul Simon-esque rockabilly yet remains the most recognizable Belle and Sebastian staple.   The inclusion of the crowd onstage has worn its welcome but that’s a small sacrifice for this 5 minutes of twee pop bliss.
  7. On the same day that President Trump failed to denounce the white supremacists, Murdoch commented and hit the vibe perfectly.  Without mentioning names he noted that what we’re going through right now is just a “blip” and because of “us” everything will be fine again soon.   Very tactful, very accurate and perfectly timed.
  8. Murdoch could have become one of the singer-songwriters on indie pop’s Mount Rushmore, but instead he evolved his art after the first two Belle and Sebastian albums and became a pure pop song genius.  His two decades of pop output stands tall next to every peer.
  9. A very nearly sold out show in a 2800 capacity venue is very impressive for a band that really isn’t touring on a new album. Their reputation and legacy material continues to be that great.
  10. Stevie Jackson didn’t sing any songs, which I found unusual since his revenge of the nerds look and feel usually fits the show well for a track or two.

Setlist

  1. Act of the Apostle
  2. I’m a Cuckoo
  3. We Were Beautiful
  4. A Summer Wasting
  5. Seeing Other People
  6. The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner
  7. We Rule the School
  8. Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John
  9. Photo Jenny
  10. I Can See Your Future
  11. Play For Today
  12. Expectations
  13. The Boy with the Arab Strap
  14. The Blues Are Still Blue
  15. The State I Am In

    Encore:

  16. The Party Line
  17. Judy and the Dream of Horses

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