The Decemberists: BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn 2018

The Decemberists at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival (Photo by Gus Philippas/WFUV)
by Eric Holland | 08/15/2018 | 4:50pm

The Decemberists at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival (Photo by Gus Philippas/WFUV)

Back in June when the Decemberists were forced to postpone their BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival show because of Colin Meloy's lost voice, fans were disappointed and concerned. But Meloy is back to health, and last night the eminent Portland, Oregon literary rockers returned to Prospect Park for a rescheduled show with triumph and delight — and all was broadcast live on WFUV as part of our "Summer of FUV" concert series.

Most notably, the two-hour, 18-song performance included the entirety of the group's 2006 album, The Crane Wife. In fact, the entire show seemed like a gift to New York City with a longer, more expansive setlist than anything (I think) has been delivered to other cities on the Decemberists' 2018 "Your Girl/Your Ghost" tour.

And while the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival grounds were a little on the muddy side due to a monsoon-like thunderstorm earlier in the afternoon, the Decemberists opened up with two strong tracks from their latest album, I'll Be Your Girl, that are familiar to FUV listeners. The first, "Severed," was anchored by Chris Funk's vintage synth, while the second, "Sucker's Prayer," featured Kelly Hogan and Nora O'Connor on backing vocals (the pair elevated the songs of the core five-piece all evening).

Following crowd pleasers "Make You Better" and "The Rake's Song," Jenny Conlee gave her accordion the first, but not the last, workout of the concert on "Down By The Water." Then came full immersion in the fantasy and folklore of The Crane Wife. The narrative, which fuses a Japanese folk tale with Shakespeare's The Tempest, is as idiosyncratic as any in the band's catalog and was highlighted by the dramatic dynamics of the epic song cycle "The Island."

During the encore, Meloy mentioned the poignant Autumn de Wilde-directed video released last month for "Once In My Life," a song that samples Yo La Tengo's "Barnaby, Hardly Working." Meloy then gave FUV some love before excluding the radio audience on the profanity-laced, extremely FCC-unfriendly "Ben Franklin's Song," written with Lin-Manuel Miranda for the Hamildrops series. The exclamation mark on the night came in the form of the rousing "The Mariner's Revenge Song," complete with an inflatable whale that hovered over the crowd before crashing into the back of the stage.

You won't be able to see the whale, but you can listen on-demand to the whole show now, minus a cussy Mr. Franklin. The next "Summer of FUV" live broadcast happens this Friday, August 17, at 7 p.m. EDT with Ben Folds and Cake at Forest Hills Stadium, airing on 90.7FM WFUV and streaming via Check out our full line-up of shows here.


  • Severed
  • Sucker's Prayer
  • Make You Better
  • The Rake's Song
  • Down by the Water
    The Crane Wife
  • The Crane Wife 3
  • The Island
  • Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
  • O Valencia!
  • The Perfect Crime #2
  • When the War Came
  • Shankill Butchers
  • Summersong
  • The Crane Wife 1 & 2
  • Sons & Daughters
  • Once In My Life
  • Ben Franklin's Song (not included in broadcast/archive)
  • The Mariner's Revenge Song

[recorded: 8/14/18]

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