Vampire Weekend performed their biggest hometown headlining show to date yesterday (June 14) at Central Park Summerstage, although the free gig was nearly cancelled.
Even within minutes of the gates opening, the venue was at capacity with thousands more in line trying to get in, but a severe rainstorm almost ended the show before the band even had a chance to take to the stage.
Canadian openers Born Ruffians managed to finish their set before a massive rain and electrical storm blew in over Manhattan, with almost an hour of persistent torrential rain soaking the crowd and halting the show.
After a brief respite from the downpour, Kid Sister was given the all-clear to play before making way for Vampire Weekend, who were introduced by Andrew WK, kicking off their set around 6.15pm.
Opening with ‘Mansard Roof’, singer Ezra Koenig acknowledged the staying power of the crowd, the majority of who were literally soaked to the skin from the monsoon-like rain.
“You didn’t mind the rain, did you?” he joked. “Seriously, thanks for staying, we appreciate it. This is our first show in New York since January.”
Two-thirds of the way through the set, the rain poured down again, soaking not just the crowd but the band, forcing them to cut the addition of a hired string section from four songs to just one, ‘M79’, about a bus whose route runs across Central Park.
“Andrew WK was right,” Koenig told the crowd. “Everyone looks more beautiful when they’re wet.”
Following a rousing performance of ‘A-Punk’, he prepared the crowd for the call-back track of ‘One (Blake’s Got A New Face)’ saying: “For anybody who’s wandered in from shopping on the Upper East Side or whatever, this is how it goes…”
As the crowd chanted for ‘Walcott’, Koenig thanked them once again for putting up with the extreme weather to see the band
“We can’t thank you guys enough for staying for this whole shit show. Electricity probably came from other places, too,” breaking into ‘Walcott’ and sending the crowd into a screaming frenzy as he sang the lyric “all the way to New Jersey”.
Previously, the band kicked off their summer festival action on Thursday (June 12) at Bonnaroo.
Vampire Weekend played:
‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’
‘I Stand Corrected’
Untitled New Song’
‘One (Blake’s Got A New Face)
‘Ladies Of Cambridge’
‘The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance’
‘Don’t Come Around Here No More’ (Tom Petty cover)
–By our New York staff.