Friday, 1 October 2021 7:00PM

Rumsey Playfield
Central Park
14 East 60th Street
New York, New York 10022

FLAC master, 12 December 2021, by elegymart:
Digital audience recording (stereo) {recorded by elegymart, sound/light board tent, stage right}: OKM II's > Roland R05 (24/96) > Cool Edit Pro 2.0 (audio cleanup, convert to 16/44) > SHNtool (fixed SBE) > CD Wave (track splits) > TLH (WAV > FLAC8).
Created this text file.

Total running time [1:38:59]
01 drone introduction [3:15] >
02 Who Loves the Sun [4:26] >
03 Before We Run [10:50]
04 For You Too [4:16]
05 Beanbag Chair [3:47]
06 Tiny Birds [6:12] >
07 Ashes [4:39]
08 I'll Be Around [6:38]
09 Big Day Coming [6:29] >
10 Autumn Sweater [5:03]
11 Deeper into Movies [6:41]
12 Decora [3:11]
13 Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind [19:23]
-- encore --
14 Bomber [4:08]
15 Tom Courtenay [5:57]
16 My Little Corner of the World [3:10]
17 closing remarks [0:46]

Band line-up:
Ira Kaplan – lead vocals and backing vocals, guitar, keyboard
Georgia Hubley – drums, lead (on t03, t07, t15) and backing vocals, percussion, keyboard
James McNew – bass, guitar, percussion, keyboard, lead and backing vocals
-- special guest --
Marilyn Kaplan - vocals on t16



Had not been planning to attend this SummerStage show, but because the possibility of its coverage seemed shy of at least one dedicated Yo La taper, made best efforts to jettison out of work early to be present. Personal mission to capture the opening set by Mountain Movers was only met with partial success.

Coming out of a pandemic year (or believing so), but getting lost and triangulated in some freakishly uncertain timeline, defined for us by Delta and other potential variants that could extend us out another year or more of health and political turmoil, this return to normalcy was predicated on arrangements like trying to return workers back to an on-site environment and dismissing the notion that work from home could ever been a residual mainstay of the post-Covid world. The hope was to flee the job in the non-WFH locale by 3:30pm, and get on line to be admitted into the show by the time the doors opened at 5pm, but best laid plans encumbered by work emergencies before bolting meant getting on an MTA bus to the subway at 5:30pm instead.

Briskly pacing down the West side of the park, past Strawberry Fields, dodging horse carriages, skaters and CitiBikes had always been a daytime excursion. Under cover of darkness was a new experience altogether. This show was originally scheduled for September 1st, but because of severe weather, was pushed back a month, and so much the better for it. Without the blistering heat, it made for a moderately cool and calm evening, but SummerStage concerts don't normally start at nightfall, nor did they ever tip past the first month of autumn in pre-Corona times.

A DJ set by Amanda Nazario kicked off the evening, and there was supposed to be some presentation by Rooftop Films, so optimism had set in that my arrival would coincide with the trail out of some motion picture being projected prior to the opener. After all, the optimal time for projection is at dusk, but now it was 7:15pm, and ample evening minutes had transpired for Rooftop to finish up. Traversing the Bandshell, only to zip back following the maze of metal barricades that presumably directed latecomers to the west of the stage instead of the usual eastern entrance, my fears that the opening set was in progress was confirmed by the psychedelic strains of Mountain Movers heard in the distance. No other sound was clearer other than the cursing in my head that show was chugging right along on schedule. Basking in the last two and a half songs of the glorious Mountain Movers set, had to ponder what the night would be like had Yo La opened for them instead.

Bag check. Followed by wanding. Even though security got a read, they waved me through. The crowd was sufficiently packed in front, so I manned a similar spot to where I planted for Patti two weeks prior -- by the tent, which offered a relatively quiet distance from most of the other audience, at least the attendees who descended on the Park collectively. It works so much better to be near the loners who are gazing at their iPhones for the duration of the show, from a vantage point about fifty feet back where sightlines to the stage were impossible.

The headline set kicked off with a drone, reminiscent of Led Zep sets circa 1972 that would segue with a similar entree into "Immigrant Song" -- but Yo La started here with a Velvets cover. At the end of their set, Ira referenced being prevented from attending Zep's Schaefer Music Festival show at Central Park in 1969 -- could the drone intro have been an obscure nod to that? (The Tim Buckley and Paul Butterfield Blues Band show that Ira paired up with that anecdote took place the year before, when Ira was the tender age of 11, if one really wanted to check the veracity of the tales from onstage.)

As with the Patti show, being this far back worked well thanks to the stellar sound of the outdoor venue, but that also meant the mellow portions of Yo La's live repertoire were piped through at a whisper. Less obvious was that being stationed by the tent meant being closer to the portable toilet stalls out back than to the stage, and the percussive kick-drum sounds heard when Georgia steps away from her kit to sing downstage for "Tom Courtenay" are actually emanating from the recoil of the slamming portajohn doors. This is also audible when Ira brings out his mother to sing on the final encore. The appearance of a special guest here facilitated welcome news of Hanukkah shows in the pipeline for later in the year.

Reviewing their recent live sets, there were no fresh surprises here, but a generously unique mix for the casual Yo La concert goer. Many sets have had the obligatory seasonal wardrobe number, maybe one or two have had the Motörhead cover, perhaps Ira's mother shown up on the odd occasion, but both, and a cover off "Loaded" that dovetails into a 1968-style VU jam, with the fast version of "Big Day Coming" -- and 16-plus minutes of "Goodkind"? Would like to think that the potent Mountain Movers set motivated YLT to compile and put in an above-average set, and they certainly delivered. Couldn't think of a better way to get the best bang of a NYC tax-paid free event than this fall evening's performances.