Stu Larsen's Performance Analysis

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Stage lights were dimmed, and house lights brightened, yet the crowd remained unmoved, singing in unison an unceasing refrain. Stu Larsen had long since left the stage after concluding his third encore at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon. Two weeks prior, at Fordham University, Jiawei Yan, Kenneth Liao, and Yihui Liu took a bow as their audience of thirty-some undergraduate students fled the University Church. From start to finish the juxtaposition between the modern “Singer/Songwriter” and the Juilliard graduate students’ performance was conspicuous. The gap between each concert’s venue, audience, and etiquette were ways away from one another, yet some thread binds these two opposing experiences together. Music in any form and of any …show more content…
The room erupted as the stage lit up, revealing a jean and guitar-clad Larsen walking onto an otherwise empty stage. First in his set was “Paper Sails,” one of the few upbeat songs in Larsen’s arsenal. The whole room was singing, but above the audience you could hear the warm, raspy timbre of Larsen’s voice. As the audience sang and danced with the buoyant floor of the Crystal Ballroom, Larsen meticulously worked a loop pedal, creating a fuller sound by using claps and stomps for percussion. As he proceeded, each song he played was obviously very fluid to anyone familiar with Larsen’s music and lyrics. In the middle of songs he would riff, or respond to someone shouting in the audience. He once messed up a lyric and restarted the verse. Half way through the set he stopped and asked that everyone put their phones away. He put down his guitar, stepped away from the microphone, and began singing “The Parting Glass.” The mood in the room changed, everyone stilled and listened to the a cappella rendering of the Irish folk song fill the room without the help of a microphone. he finished and said “Cool,” giving the audience permission to applaud. The show went on as it had before,the audience as much a part of the performance as Larsen himself. In his second encore Larsen played a cover of Paul Simon’s “The Sound of Silence,” as Larsen stepped away from the microphone, the crowd continued to sing along to his …show more content…
The Crystal Ballroom, in the heart of the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon, has been a staple in Portland’s music scene since it’s establishment in 1914, it’s known for it’s sprung floor, which time and time again brings a bounce and an energy to whoever steps foot on it. The show was at 9:00 in the evening, but when I arrived at the venue two hours before hand, there was already a line down the block waiting for doors to open. Taking the stage, Stu Larsen took control of the audience, allowing them to respond exactly how he wanted. During his slower songs the audience was quieter, singing along softly, if at all, and during the upbeat songs the crowd was rambunctious, jumping up and down, and shouting his lyrics back at him. Throughout the night, the audience sang along, danced, cheered, and interacted, with the music and the musician. Jiawei Yan, Kenneth Liao, and Yihui Liu’s performance was reserved, small, brief, and calm. The Fordham University Church was colored by sunlight streaming through stained glass windows, the audience sparsely filled the first ten rows of wooden pews in fort of the altar. At precisely 4:00 the performance began, though there was the sporadic new comer tip toeing up to the front of the church and taking a seat at the end of a pew. After each piece there was a moment of hesitation from the audience, not quite knowing if it was okay to clap or not. Fundamentally, the difference between

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