So, unfortunately I missed the opening act, Beach House.  I did get to hear them from afar as I approached the downtown Raleigh Amphitheatre.  They sounded really good and I was pretty sad I only got to catch the end of them. I’d never been to this venue before, but it is surprisingly and pleasantly small. It’s right in the middle of the city, so close to the streets that a passerby could enjoy a concert if he were just strolling the streets after a nice dinner. The inside of the venue is a simple layout — most of the ground is covered with seats and in the back there is a small strip of grass that is considered the “lawn.”  I had lawn tickets but I sat there for all of five minutes before my friends and I joined the mob of people that rushed toward the front.

Vampire Weekend was fashionably late, coming on stage at 9:00 p.m. instead of 8:30 as scheduled. I assumed that they would mostly plays songs from their newest album, Contra. Instead, their set list was a mix of both Contra and their self-titled 2008 debut, Vampire Weekend; they alternated pretty much every song. After the band walked on stage to a Ludacris song, they got right into the set list by playing “Holiday.”

I was a fan before I went to this concert but my appreciation for this band dramatically increased after attending this concert. They sounded even better than they do on their albums. They remixed some of their songs and added in guitar solos (which was highlighted by a light shining down on Ezra Koenig, the lead singer and guitarist). They were also more alive on stage — they were louder and had even more personality (which I didn’t think was possible). Their improvisations at this concert were a true mark of their artistic ability and just one of the reasons why I gained even more appreciation for them.

The light show really complimented the energy, keeping up with the beats and changing colors with each song. The light always illuminated the back of the stage, where a supersized version of their disk hung. When Ezra started playing a guitar solo, the light would cut out in the back of the stage and focus solely on him for a minute or so, mesmerizing the audience as he improvised.

My friends and I also managed to head to the front and we landed the perfect seats without realizing it at first. There was a big gap between our seats and the seats in front of us — this big walkway became a sort of runway. Some people danced along it as they made their way to the designated smoking area, and for some it was the drunken walk of shame. One guy had two or five too many and he drunkenly made his way down the cement path, dancing with the audience.  I was even lucky enough to get a shimmy from him. Security escorted him out, but they definitely had a fun time watching this guy.

My only problem with this show was that it was way too short. Vampire Weekend only played for about an hour and ten minutes. I was wanting more from them but I guess that is kind of hard when they only have two albums. They were so electric, vibrant, colorful and energetic. It is hard to dance to their music; you don’t know whether to bob, sway your hips or jump up and down. It didn’t matter; Vampire Weekend managed to get everybody moving in their seats or on the lawn.

As the band left the stage, Ezra announced that they might not be playing for a while in the U.S.  I got a little emotional when he said this but I am still waiting for their next album or concert. This band still has a lot to offer us. This show was just a delicious taste of what is to come from this New York-based band.

– Sarah Diedrick