Opening the night were local acts Paper Bird and Amanda Palmer. Paper Bird, a Fort Collins-based folk outfit welcomed fans in with their fun, upbeat tunes and beautiful harmonies. The trio of women fronting the band (Emsé, Sarah, and Genevieve) all have beautiful, dynamic voices that can carry a room. As if that wasn’t enough, their harmonies are...haunting. So spot on that you couldn’t even imagine better. Playing fun, upbeat tunes with fun lyrics, they were a great way to ease into the evening. Amanda Palmer took to the stage next, accompanied by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. A unique, almost mysterious and dark sound, Amanda Palmer is generally accompanied by a small backing band, so to see her with a full orchestra behind her was mind-blowing. Singing fan favorites, as well as a few selections off of her new album “Theatre is Evil” which was just released, there was a dynamic range of music in her set: some happy, some sad, some full of epic chorus’, and some including little ducky squeaks. I had never seen her perform before, and was very impressed. Ending her set with “Coin Operated Boy” (a song written originally for her past group The Dresden Dolls), her and conductor Scott O’Neal swapped places, letting her conduct, while he played piano! It was unique and fun to watch live, and certainly unlike anything else I’d ever seen before.
Finally, just as the sun began to take its place setting behind the great Rocky Mountains, DeVotchKa took stage. Opening with “The Clockwise Witness”, the set quickly took on a life of it’s own as the band played a wide array of songs from across their discography. Fans seemed a little unsure at first of how to view the show: most fans continued to sit when the band first took stage as one usually does at a Symphony, but by the end of the evening the audience had let any semblance of “proper actions” drift away into the night, and were dancing, moving, and reacting however they felt necessary as the band continued to sweep through dynamic songs like “Comrade Z”, to the beautiful “How It Ends”. About halfway through the set, the band was accompanied on stage by a troupe of acrobatic women. These girls came out one at a time, and began dancing on giant satin ropes hanging from the top of the stage during the song “Undone”. Vocalist Nick Urata sang with fervor to a crowd of thousands, who were all watching the girls, mesmerized by their daring yet beautiful moves. Accompanied at the end of the set by operatic vocalist Timur and Amanda Palmer for a beautiful rendition of “The Enemy Guns”, DeVotchKa’s performance was timeless, and beautiful. The set moved through songs like scenes of a movie, taking their audience through the evening emotion by emotion.