It was a blazing hot Friday afternoon as I sailed to Vancouver on B.C. Ferries’ Queen of Saanich. I had missed the 1 p.m. ferry and was on my way to see Gotye perform at the Orpheum, a venue the musical group had recently changed to instead of Deer Lake Park.
Fast-forward past a majestic soaking-in of the B.C. coast and a colourful trip on Vancouver’s public transit, to standing outside of the Orpheum on Smithe Street. It’s just after 7 p.m. on Aug. 31. My friend and I eagerly await the approach of a scalper. Within five minutes, we are towering over a small, stout woman wearing layers of blue eyeliner; curiously, she had only applied the liner on her lower lash line, creating an extremely odd, off-almond eye shape. A quick hundred dollars and several pints later, it is 9:30 p.m. The lights dim and the crowd erupts as Wally De Backer (Gotye) and his band-mates step onto stage. After a quick and polite hello, they began their set.
The show was magic. They played a blend of fast-paced and emotional songs from their third studio album, <i>Making Mirrors</i>, broken up by older songs —some of which (I hate to admit) I had never heard before. Their performance was raw and impressive. Gotye bounced around the stage singing and playing the drums, tambourine, synthesizer and even a melodica in their encore. Each member was sweat-stained and euphoric, and I felt as if they were grateful to be there. Performances of “Give Me a Chance,” “Smoke and Mirrors,” “State of the Art” and newest single “Eyes Wide Open” were better than listening to the album at full volume. Gotye’s ability to hit the highest notes with precision and emotion paired with the synchronicity and talents of the band were nothing short of a treat.
The song I attended Gotye for, though I love them all, was “Bronte,” and I was spoiled. Gotye welcomed us to “rush the stage,” and after two funky and upbeat songs, the lights dimmed and the first notes of “Bronte” began. The crowd turned silent and stared at the artistic video in the backdrop, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of the man singing — hands held to my chest the entire time.
He moved the crowd in such a way that when the last note lingered, Gotye said, in his Australian accent, “Wow, you were all really quiet for that. Thank you.”
Quickly moving onto the next song, we all joined in as the female vocals in the much-overplayed-yet-still-amazing-when-you-are-experiencing-it-live single “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
The stunning backdrops were as impressive as the performance. The backcloth was an awe-inspiring collection of colourful abstract images and videos; each one different and synchronized to every song. The array of shooting styles and subject matter embodied the ideal that fame and success does not tarnish artistic integrity.