Confetti and Joy: The Decemberists and M. Ward made the Mann Center feel like home

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The Decemberists | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN | katemccannphotography.com

It was one of those nights at the Mann Center for Performing Arts where every moment made you fall in love with Philadelphia all over again. And each song made you feel more at home with the ever-engaged audience.

The skyline aglow, M. Ward took the stage with an acoustic guitar, alone, and fervently played to the crowd. The band shuffled in, playing favorites like “Chinese Translation” and “Post-War.” Mid-set, Ward announced a surprise album release of What a Wonderful Industry, that dropped today and followed it up with a new single, “Miracle Man.”

M. Ward | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN | katemccannphotography.com

Acoustic guitar in hand, Colin Meloy also entered without his band. He opened with “a biographical tune,” “My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist.” The Decemberists joined in full for “Everything is Awful,” and in true Meloy-fashion, he changed the lyrics mid-song. “A white man is telling you that everything is awful, and there is something particularly awful about that.” The ironically joyful tune ended with bursts of rainbow confetti falling on the crowd.

The Decemberists | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN | katemccannphotography.com

It was during “Rox in the Box” that some audience members had a failed attempt at getting the crowd dancing. But as soon as Meloy strapped on his harmonica, everyone was up for “Down by the Water.” The band then turned it up during their new hit, “Severed,” and took it right into a crowd-pleaser, “Won’t Want for Love” off of The Hazards of Love.

The Decemberists | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN | katemccannphotography.com

The Decemberists played a set full of new and old with “some songs you really like, and some you feel eh about,” Meloy half-jokingly said. After a singalong to “We All Die Young,” the band played “O, Valencia!” off of The Crane Wife; most-likely the album that made you a fan in the first place.

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