Last Thursday, satire was brought to Orange County through the captivating stage presence of Father John Misty. Despite being his second sold-out show at the Observatory, Misty’s (also referred to as Josh Tillman) intimacy with the crowd made the experience feel like it was just the one individual- out of the actual five hundred and fifty- and him. This is mine. Enjoy!
March 31, 2016
I arrived to the venue around three hours before the doors opened, considering most concerts I’ve attended in the past have a queue forming well into the morning of the event. To my surprise, I was relieved to find only four people in line in front of me. Three hours of Scrabble and high school gossip later, I received my wristband and was mentally preparing for what was to come. Once I entered, an overwhelming sensation of excitement and nostalgia came over me; I had been at the same venue twice the month before to see The Neighbourhood and Hoodie Allen, and suddenly I was back to see another one of my most cherished performers. Without any confrontation, I calmly made my way up to the barricade and found myself centered with the stage.
I was in the middle of finishing another Scrabble game when Tillman’s opening act “Tess & Dave” took the stage. Adorned with matching blue eye shadow and floral brooches, the duo instantly enticed me and the audience with their blithe attitudes and Tame Impala influenced sound. With endearing synchronized dance moves and the intriguing background choreography of Long Beach natives, “The Ta-das'”, Tess and Dave successfully prepared the crowd for the main act ahead.
After another hour of chatter and anticipation, the moment had finally arrived. Following his fellow band mates whom were accompanied by the one and only, Tess and Dave, was the man himself. Decorated in a black and white polka-dot blouse underneath a fitted, black blazer was Father John Misty. His long hair and full beard made a familiar appearance, as the room quickly erupted into applause and screams.
‘Every Man Needs a Companion’ began the show, as Tillman strolled confidently up and down the stage. A few more songs off of his debut album (under Father John Misty), Fear Fun, followed before he finally introduced himself.
“I never liked the name Joshua. I got tired of ‘J’.”
Quickly, I learned that Tillman took advantage of any resources available that allowed him to become closer to his audience. The barricade was no longer a safe place to rest my arms, as brown suede boots soon possessed it. Tillman grasped as many hands as he could, including mine, leaving the people in awe and desperate for more. At one point during his performance, the upper mezzanine was paid a visit as Tillman dared to lift himself to the bars. The crowd was easily won over by his affectionate actions, sycophantic singing, and comprehensive charm.
After performing fan favorites including ‘Nancy from Now On’ and ‘Bored in the USA’, Tillman concluded his set with everyone’s favorite title track- ‘I Love You, Honeybear.’ White roses were thrown in acts of admiration, which Tillman loosely secured in his pocket (and I later snagged off of the stage, along with a severed setlist). After a round of informal ‘thank you’s’, the stage became empty yet again as Tillman prepared for his encore.
Once he returned, the ambiance shifted as he removed his jacket and took hold of one of his many acoustic guitars. Demanding silence, Tillman took the stage and begin singing a stripped version of one of my personal favorites, ‘I Went to the Store One Day.’
“Thank you. I never do this.”
With only two songs left, an impressive rendition of Rihanna’s ‘Kiss It Better’ off of her newly released album ANTI, was dedicated to his infamous muse and wife- Emma. To my amusement, lyric sheets were taped to the ground beside his own setlist, but were not needed as Tillman passionately transformed the song into his own.
Before I knew it, the entire crowd was jumping in unison to the beat of ‘The Ideal Husband’- the final song of the night. Tillman’s energy was high as he fell to his knees and sang with everything he had to offer.
Out of the twenty-six concerts and counting that I’ve attended, I can confidently say that I have never felt more engaged and serene than with which I did with Father John Misty. From the monochromatic lights to the harmonious vocals, every aspect that is contributed into the show accumulates into one unforgettable experience.
Mr. Tillman- it was an honor. Best regards to the remaining portion of the tour and any upcoming projects.
Until next time.