Decemberists Get Orchestra Treatment On Tour
This July, the Decemberists will perform alongside local orchestras at select dates in amphitheaters in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago and Columbia, Md. The Portland, Ore.-based act is cuThis July, the Decemberists will perform alongside local orchestras at select dates in amphitheaters in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago and Columbia, Md.
The Portland, Ore.-based act is currently playing 1,500- to 3,000-capacity theaters in support of its Capitol debut, "The Crane Wife," which has sold 214,000 copies in the United States since its October release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The idea to match the Decemberists with orchestras came after Johanna Rees, who has booked similar shows at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl, approached the act's booking agent, Kevin French with Bigshot Touring Artists.
"I was the liaison between the band and the orchestra folks, because they may can't know how the rock world works," Rees tells Billboard.com. "And if you're a fan, it's such a perfect band to put with an orchestra. Musically, they're just astounding."
To help organize the dates, Rees, who also books the L.A.'s Walt Disney Concert Hall, reached out to various venue and orchestra promoters around the country. "I needed to make sure all the pieces fit together," she says. "Obviously, an orchestra promoter may not be able to promote a rock concert the way it needs to be promoted."
In 2004, Rees paired French electronic duo Air with an orchestra for a sold-out concert at the 17,300-seat Hollywood Bowl. And over the next two years, she did the same with Dead Can Dance (2005) and Belle and Sebastian (2006).
"After the third year, the artists, managers and agents started calling -- and so did some of the orchestra promoters that I know," Rees says. "They were wondering how to be a part of it."
For the Decemberists July 7 concert at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Rees predicts many concertgoers will simply attend out a desire to experience something different. "I think people are just interested in seeing a band play with an orchestra, even if they don't know the band or orchestra that well." Indie act Band Of Horses will open the show.
For the orchestra shows, the Decemberists will play songs from their entire catalog, according to sources close to the band. Leading up to the five orchestra-backed concerts, the band will play the Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals. A theatre tour is expected in the fall.
Here are the Decemberists summer tour dates:
June 16: Manchester, Tenn. (Bonnaroo Festival)
July 7: Los Angeles (Hollywood Bowl, w/ L.A. Philharmonic, Band Of Horses)
July 13: Atlanta (Chastain Park, w/ Atlanta Symphony Orchestra)
July 14: Columbia, Md. (Merriweather Post Pavilion, w/ Baltimore Symphony Orchestra)
July 15: Philadelphia (Mann Center for the Performing Arts, w/ Mann Festival Orchestra)
July 16: New York (Central Park Summerstage, w/ Grizzly Bear)
July 18: Chicago (Jay Pritzker Pavillion, w/ Grant Park Orchestra)
July 22: Troutdale, Ore. (Edgefield Winery, w/ Menomena)