Animal Collective Deliver in Spectacular Form at Terminal 5November 3rd, 2016
Animal Collective – Terminal 5 – November 2, 2016
There’s only one thing that could have competed with the Cubs finally winning the World Series (in extra innings of the seventh game, no less) last night and that was seeing Animal Collective do a serious deep dive at Terminal 5. For one thing, there’s the instinctively staggered vocal interplay between Avey Tare and Panda Bear, whose bird calls from an alternate universe boomerang in and out of one another’s in transfixing patterns. For another, there’s the fortitude of recreating and reshaping their recorded material with peerless imagination—and there are like nine other things that leave you speechless, a happy party to the wild rumpus that gradually builds into a human wave.
Terminal 5 turned into an aquarium of the rolling, swimming Animal Collective faithful last night, an ideal setting for the almost unfathomable set that drew broadly from their discography of distinct aural treasures now 13 years in the making. The wonderfully wacky impressionist art onstage immediately let you know who you were there to see, and older songs from masterpiece albums like Sung Tongs, Feels and Merriweather Post Pavilion filtered in to the set list. It all played like a warped journey into the group’s projected creativity, marvelous departures that danced and floated like a laundry line of sheets in the winds of their fancy. Particularly entrancing were long, winding plays of “Loch Raven,” which sent all into dreamland, and an electro-dub-warped variation of the originally acoustic “Kids on Holiday.” It’s really up in the air with a live Animal Collective set: There’s no telling from which corner of an album or obscure EP they’ll pull a song to play—or how the version will unfold and materialize.
The crowd was putty in Animal Collective’s hands by the time “FloriDada” hopped into the fold, sheets of vibrant light momentarily revealing a sea of swirling bodies. Through an expansive and extended performance, Avey Tare was the vocal intermediary, periodically checking in and engaging with playful banter. And when the band answered the enthusiastic roar for an encore, he let out a giggle of surprise and humility at the prolonged cheers. He, Geologist and Panda Bear delivered in spectacular form. Only when experiencing a show so voluminous do you recognize how much it transcends ordinary concert experiences. Expectations were toyed with and convention scattered like puzzle pieces and then placed in new order to reveal the land of their design, where colors and characters are at once deceptive and familiar. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly