When I found out that Vampire Weekend was playing The Complex, I envisioned them playing in the biggest of the two rooms, The Rockwell. But it wasn’t until I arrived at the venue that I realized this show wouldn’t be taking place in either of them. I walked up to where security usually checks bags and scans their metal detectors and found that there was actually a tent in front of that gate for Will Call and that the security checkpoint was now where you enter the show. The big lot that will usually house the tour buses was now the venue where Vampire Weekend would be performing. I have to admit I was a little confused. A stage had been constructed for this show and instead of a typical concert at The Complex, we were treated to one of the last albeit unexpected outdoor concerts of the year.
I wish I had the inside scoop on why this stage was built, and why this was set up to be an outdoor concert, but my investigative journalism skills have failed me. I still have no idea why things played out the way they did. To my knowledge, there was no outdoor show at The Complex before this, and there most likely won’t be one for the rest of the year. Maybe Vampire Weekend requested it. Perhaps The Complex wanted to test this out so they can have an outdoor stage series next summer. I guess we’ll all just have to be patient until we can find out.
Now the mystery of the outdoor stage wasn’t a negative thing, nor am I complaining about the situation. It just perplexed me. I think most people walking in were not aware of this situation either, but it did say on the ticket, ” The Lot @ The Complex”.
I think the new stage added a little extra excitement to the evening. It felt like we were going part of a test of some sort, or at least be part of something new. “If this show was amazing, then the stage would stay!” type of thing. And the show was amazing. Fans piled into the lot with excitement to see one of their favorite bands. Their faces similar to mine, “What’s this?!”
Soccer Mommy opened the show. The band had a mellow 90s Alt-Rock kind of feel to them. The lead singer told us that they were going to be playing songs off of their latest album, Clean. They told the crowd they were going to play an angry song. The audience didn’t totally rise to their level of anger and they told us, “I’m glad you’re not angry. You’re like 1/3 angry.” The mellow vibes picked up a little as their set went along, but they stayed true their underlying vibe of mellow Alt-Rock, which featured some really cool synth effects and guitar.
The audience cheered as each member of Vampire Weekend took the stage. The crowd noise subsided only momentarily before the song “Holiday” began. The roar of the crowd returned and we were off. If anyone was cold from the brisk October weather it was clear they wouldn’t be for long. The audience began moving and the connection was made between the band and the audience. Following their second song, “Unbelievers”, lead singer, Ezra Koenig shouted out, “How are you Salt Lake?!”. Salt Lake was great and they let him know it!
Things moved right along in the thirty song set. Yeah, that’s right, Vampire Weekend did a thirty song set! They came to give Utah a major show and did they ever. I was really excited to hear their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”. I really like that song, and I think they do the song justice in their version. The audience was smiling and dancing to the song. I wonder how many even know it’s a cover. Vampire Weekend made it their own. So much that it fit right into the setlist as if an original. Speaking of originals, nothing got the crowd going quite like Vampire Weekend’s best known songs like, “This Life”, “Oxford Comma”, and especially “A-Punk”. People went nuts for that one!
The band left the stage following “Jerusalem, New York, Berlin”. When they returned they performed “Sunflower” off of their new album, Father of the Bride. Following that they opened the encore to requests from the audience. I thought this was such a cool idea. They did full or partial versions of “Everlasting Arms”, “Giant”, “Married in a Gold Rush” and “Wolcott”. The audience loved that they played a part in the show. Vampire Weekend finished things up with “Ya Hey”. They left the stage and the audience cheered until they were gone.
I think overall the I was really cool with the show being outside. It was cold but no one really seemed to mind. Everyone just seemed to be enjoying themselves, smiling as they looked at the stage. It was one of those shows where the whole crowd was singing along and was just super excited with every Vampire Weekend track. We’re so lucky in Utah because Vampire Weekend is a pretty big band. They played two shows at Red Rocks in Colorado, and while there was a big crowd at The Complex, I’m sure it felt more intimate than those Red Rocks shows. There wasn’t a bad spot on that lot!
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac Cover)
New Dorp. New York
One (Blake’s Got a New Face)
the Kids Don’t Stand a Chance
Jerusalem, New York, Berlin
Everlasting Arms (by request)
Giant (by request)
Married in a Gold Rush (partial. by request)
Walcott (partial. by request)