There's a double entendre to today's title. Partly it refers to (no surprise, I'm sure) my first tempo run of the new marathon season. Partly, it refers to this bizarre band that Erin and I went to see yesterday in Central Park for Summer Stage. For non-New Yorkers, Summer Stage is one of the reasons to live in New York. Concerts, dance, theatre in the park, often free, several nights a week all summer long.
Now, to be fair, Erin and I didn't go solely to see the bizarre band. Erin actually gave me tickets to the Decemberists concert for my birthday last week, which may have been one of the best gifts ever. I really like this band. Even though I may have written a few months ago that I sing the Killers at the top of my lungs while running, usually I don't. More likely would be the Decemberists or Modest Mouse, with the occasional TV on the Radio. The Killers would be a little odd for me, although I'm certain that everyone has run tempo to their "Mr. Brightside" at one point or another.
Anyway, the odd opening band was called Grizzly Bear and their music (I'll call it that because you couldn't really call it songs) consisted of caterwauls and moans with heavy, heavy use of the echo effect. It really kind of sounded like they'd just discovered this sound device and, like a kid with a new toy, wanted to use it in the entire set as well as during the intra-song banter. To add to this and, I suppose, to really appease of a crowd of NYU students and wannabe college radio disc jockeys, just when a rhythm started to develop, when what they were playing might develop into an honest-to-goodness tune, out of nowhere they'd pull a disconcerting drop in tempo that really felt the acoustical equivalent of the elevator drop at Six Flags. Erin's take, "I don't really go for psychedelic Gregorian chanting." Me neither.
But the Decemberists. Great Great Great concert band. I've never seen a crowd so happy to sing songs about sweethearts lost at sea, pirate's revenge, kidnapping ( She cursed, she shivered/She cried for mercy,/"My gold and silver if thou will release me!"/I'll take no gold miss, I'll take no silver/I'll take those sweet lips, and I'll deliver) or the lyrics "You'll not feel the drowning/You'll not feel the drowning," which the entire crowd sang along to, quite happily I might add. There really was something kind of perverse it the whole thing now that I think about it. I mean, it was a summer festival.
But lest you think the lyrics were the only weirdness at a concert by a band whose last album was based around a Japanese folk tale, and whose tunes are peppered to references to Shakesphere (In the lowlands, nestled in the heat/A briar cradle rocks it's babe to sleep/Its contents watched by Sycorax/And patagon in paralax/A foretold rumbling sounds below the deep/Come and see/Come and see) we also had a game of beach ball played with, not a beach ball, but a stuffed seal, we finished off the first set with Colin Meloy leading the crowd in a chant of "hear all the bombs... fade away, hear all the bombs ... fade away," and at one point during the encore, we had Meloy convincing the crowd and the band to lay down and pretend to be asleep. Bizarre, but very fun and highly recommended.
In all that, I forgot to mention the tempo run. McCarren Park track. 8.25 total miles in 59:15 (avg. of 7:11/mile). Breakdown of: Warmup of 2.13 in 16:52 (7:57/mile); 4 tempo miles in 6:27, 6:30, 6:29, 6:26; Cooldown of 2.13 in 16:22 (7:41). This felt pretty good although the last mile or so of the tempo was pretty tough. All in all, it was not bad at all for my first planned and structured speed workout of 2007. No, not bad at all.
Week (of July 9) in Review