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Re-Viewed: Andrew Bird at the Riviera Theatre

By Julene McCoy in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 23, 2007 9:30PM

Sometimes we worry whether a “big break” will be too much for someone, if they can live up to the expectations and scrutiny of the many more people that will be watching their every move. Well, we needn’t have worried about Andrew Bird. He nailed his debut at The Riviera on Friday night.

2007_04_phonograph.jpgThe stage was set with a rotating phonograph that, from afar, looked like spinning legs, alongside another zebra-striped phonograph (at least that’s what our friend said that thing was supposed to be). All three players that evening were set up near the front of the Riviera’s deep stage making the space seem a little less cavernous than usual. Even from our vantage point at the very tip-top of the balcony, where the orchestral sounds filled the entire theatre, we felt as if we were still seeing Andrew at the smaller venues we had always seen him at before.

Armchair Apocrypha is the album that has brought Andrew Bird to the place where he can sell out the Riviera, and he relied on that album throughout the evening to showcase his multiple musical talents; from guitar, to violin, to the art of whistling. “Fiery Crash” gave Andrew his “hit” moment with everyone singing along almost immediately with the classic indie rock beats. We always have been partial to “Scythian Empires” and we loved hearing it live. In fact, we don’t think there was any song we’d say wasn’t dead on.

The only complaint anyone in our group had was that the show was too stacked from the latest album, and didn’t have enough from 2005’s Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs, but that’s pretty minor complaint from our group of veteran Birdwatchers. Nora O’Connor’s help during the encore dispelled our other initial grumble that no one from Chicago shared the stage.

For your viewing pleasure, Live Music Blog has got some great photos up from the show.