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Godspeed You! Black Emperor in Big Sur

Godspeed You! Black Emperor in Big Sur, photo by Brian Ziffer

Photo by Brian Ziffer

How did you spend your weekend? I spent mine lying under the stars while Godspeed You! Black Emperor played the soundtrack to the apocalypse while surrounded by redwoods in a clearing in Big Sur.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor in Big Sur, photo by Brian Ziffer

Photo by Brian Ziffer

When I learned that bands sometimes play shows in Big Sur (Animal Collective played at the Henry Miller Library in May of 2009), I knew right away that I had to see a show there.

FolkYeah announced that Godspeed You! Black Emperor would be playing there back in December, and I grabbed tickets immediately.

I believe that they only sold 300 tickets for this event. They could have easily fit 1000 people in the area immediately in front of the stage. They could also setup the area in such a way that many more people could fit. They clearly avoid doing this in order to create an intimate atmosphere, and it definitely added to the experience.

Here’s some footage that I got of the show.

Normally I’m on the ball with this sort of thing and would have gotten much more footage, but I was so content to just relax under the stars and listen to the music.

All in all, it was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget. I’m happy that I can now cross Big Sur off of my list of places where I need to see live music. Off the top of my head, here are the remaining places on my list:

  • Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO (I’ve been to the venue, but I’ve never seen a show there)
  • Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA (Sigur Rós is playing there in August!)
  • Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, OR
  • The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington
  • Stubb’s BBQ in Austin, TX
  • Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY
  • Volcano Room of Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, TN
  • Dalhalla (Sweden) – Set in an old limestone quarry created by a 4 KM meteor that fell from space 360 million years ago… Sounds pretty cool, right?

Update (3/19/14): I have now seen concerts at Red Rocks (The Disco Biscuits, Shpongle and RJD2 on 4/27/13), The Gorge Ampitheatre (Phish on 7/26 and 7/27/13) and Hollywood Forever Cemetery (James Blake and Warpaint on 10/23/2013). I’ve also added a new venue to my list… A 333 foot underground cave known as the “Volcano Room” of Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, TN.

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