My Summer Stage Concert Experience: Grouplove & Portugal. The Man
As the summer nears an end, I spent it the best way I know how: outside, dancing.
New York City's acclaimed Summer Stage concert series is dear to my heart and a must-have experience! The last show of the Honda Civic Tour landed in my hometown, right in Central Park. Grouplove and Portugal. The Man were scheduled to wrap up their tour with an awesome end of summer show.
Here's the spiel on my latest music adventure, on a perfect September summer night.
Summer Stage Concert Tickets
Our tickets were $50, each, unusual for a Summer Stage concert, as most of them are free. I dressed feminine-casual: wearing a black American Apparel body con, vans, and an Arizona denim button down tied around my waist. My ears were dressed with two different sets of earrings: a pair of gold triangle plates and a pair of turquoise-coral drop beads, gifted to me during my Adirondacks trip.
With my hair pinned up and various rings along one hand, I showed my travel spirit wearing my crossbody purse from Montanita, Ecuador - a staple you see in most of Central America.
The Concert Experience
I arrived after the opening act, minutes before Grouplove was to go on. There were t-shirt vendors and beverage stations, surrounded by excited faces and a setting sun. Lines for the port-a-potties were alive with chatter and I smiled, amused at how easy music, drinks, and good company can erase the slight whiff of urine.
Our fluorescent wristbands waved in the air as we signaled the bartender/cashier for our drinks. Our timing was perfect. The crowd just began moving for the break and we quickly snagged a great spot on the lawn, close-up at stage left.
When Grouplove came out, the crowd roared as shades of dusk glowed magnificently upon them. Alex and I laughed in support: amazed at how much energy the band put into their performance. It was also somewhat refreshing, to see so much effort on stage.
I must admit, I enjoy the likes of local bands, indie rock/pop/folk, neo-soul and R&B, and laid back hip-hop, so performances are usually more mellow and I rarely see the jumping around and stage diving like I did with Grouplove. They performed a number of songs, a few covers, and pranced the stage in unique clothing, throwing guitars in the air. They knew how to rev up the crowd. I joked that if you observed the show without sound, you'd think we were watching a heavy metal band. It was that intense.
The show continued on with the much awaited, Portugal. The Man. Alex and his roommates put me on to their music; their mellow sound paired with enjoyable synths are always an easy listen. What was special about their performance was the way they intertwined all of the songs into one another.
I'd be singing along to one song and realize that I was now singing the hook to a completely different one. The transitions were smooth and the vocals were spot on. The climax of the Portugal. The Man performance most certainly was their light show. They used (what I believe were) linear beams of light and released fog into the air, catching the light and giving the illusion of waves, for the song "Waves" - of course. I tried my best to capture the visual without being that annoying tall person with her hands raised, recording.
I danced and sang along, excited to realize that I knew every song. The people around me shared the same feeling, probably less surprised, but definitely excited. I love being around others when it comes to music and dance. You share this unspoken bond through rhythm and emotion, and any differences you might have quickly dissolve in that moment. Nothing but that moment matters. Nothing but that feeling matters.
I was so glad to have had the opportunity to attend the end of summer show at the Rumsey Playfield, and the last performance of the Honda Civic tour. As much as I love to travel, I can't help but adore NYC - even in the humid, disgusting summer. Ah, to be a New Yorker.