Last night I went to see The Decemberists with Ratboys at Roadrunner. It was my first show at the venue, which lived up to all the hype in the press and rave reviews from friends. Great sightlines from almost everywhere, great sound, convenient service. It’s an all general admission (GA) venue, so no seating (aside from ADA seating) but there are tiered balconies you can sit on before the show starts or during breaks.

I ended up getting “premium balcony left” tickets as they were actually cheaper in the resale market than the general tickets. Not sure I’d pay more for them – does get you a less crowded balcony section and maybe less getting their early to get a good view, but otherwise not much differentiated from the regular tickets.

The opener was Chicago, IL band Ratboys, whose new album The Window is their sixth. This was only night 2 of the tour, and they’ll be the supporting act for much of the spring and summer. Well worth getting there in time to see them if you have not.

a group of people on a stage
Ratboys – with sign-language interpreter just right of stage
Love the flying V guitar

The story of Elvis is in the Freezer: Elvis was her childhood cat, who had to be put down unexpectedly when she was away for college, so her mother preserved Elvis in the freezer so they could have a proper funeral as a family

Ratboys, Elvis is in the Freezer, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

“The Window” is a really touching story about the passing of Steiner’s grandmother – her grandfather wasn’t allowed to be with her due to COVID era restrictions and had to say goodbye via a window. (I’m not crying, you’re crying).

Ratboys, The Window, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

The Decemberists opened with a couple of songs in a more intimate setting at the front of the stage, opening with “All I Want Is You,” one of the tracks from the forthcoming album As It Ever Was So It Will Be Again.

Decemberists, All I Want Is You, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

They did a wonderful job mixing new tracks from the upcoming album (out in June) with some older favorites, including “Shankhill Butchers” with one of my favorite Colin Meloy lyrics: “They used to be just like me and you / they used to be such sweet little boys / but something has gone horribly askew / now killing is their only source of joy.”

Decemberists, Shankhill Butchers, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

Then they cleared away the lights and went back to the full band on stage, with “Don’t Carry It All” from The King is Dead

Decemberists, Don’t Carry It All, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

I was very surprised and happy to hear some from The Crane Wife as well

Decemberists, Crane Wife Pt 1, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

As well as “Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid” from Hazards of Love

Decemberists, Wanting Comes In Waves, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner
Decemberists, Repaid, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

And “Make You Better” from What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

Decemberists, Make You Better, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

Plus “Severed” from I’ll Be Your Girl

Decemberists, Severed, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

Meloy introduced “Sixteen Military Wives” as commentary on the contemporary political scene – though of course it came out back in 2005

Decemberists, Sixteen Military Wives, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

Another of the new songs from the forthcoming As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again was “Joan in the Garden”

Decemberists, Joan in the Garden, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner
Decemberists, Joan in the Garden, 5-2-24 at Roadrunner

All in all a great show – I’d have preferred an encore drawn from deeper in the catalog as opposed to the new album, but I get they want to play the new stuff. Can’t wait for the LP which comes out June 14th (preorder here).

Will definitely be checking out other shows at Roadrunner