It's an encouraging sign of the growth and development of Zach Condon and his band Beirut as both artists and as musicians that last night's performance at Atlanta's Buckhead Theater seemed less about playing the individual songs as creating and maintaining a certain sound. Sure, they played their hit songs (see set list at bottom), but the emphasis seemed to be not on the recognition of familiar tunes but on the individual playing and virtuosity of the various band members. The effect was less of a pop show than a bona fide concert, closer to the experience of listening to jazz than to rock.
It was lovely.
For the record, there was no opener, just Beirut. A lengthy, pre-show set of recorded Afro-Pop and Brazilian rock before the show was credited to a DJ T1, but to those of us waiting for the show to start, just sounded like more PA music before the set began.