antony & the brooklyn philharmonics

the other day, i brought my mother into brooklyn, ny for her first time. we easily found our way driving into the city and were served with the most class, drinking shiraz at a lil italian restaurant in brooklyn heights followed by an evening performance of
antony and the johnsons
with the brooklyn philharmonics
at BAM’s howard gilman opera house.

ever since the beginning days of getting lost in their sounds, its been a special wish for me to see antony perform live. the ways i often dreamt of his music, played out exactly how i envisioned; dark and emotional, sad and beautiful, quietly but so powerful. sitting inside that lovely opera house, with my mother to my right, amongst a young and old audience of the humble and not so-ordinary, it was a perfect seating that can best be described as spiritual.

opening with lyrics from mysteries of love, the stage calmly remained in pitch black while just antony’s voice echoed as a tiny white light slowly burning within him. after the second song, a sheer curtain gently rose as the brooklyn philharmonics and the rest of the johnsons appeared as an elegant golden backdrop cascading their own accompaniments.

uncomfortably standing upright without his piano and dressed in white pieces of draping fabric, antony beautifully performed new songs glowing in neon shades of ghost green, vampire red and bright white diamond light. every single moving syllable transcended gloriously throughout his vocals and kindly surrounded the orchestra like dignified magic. from start to end, the show became its own theatrical display simply reflecting cinematic images of horror and surreal feelings of absolute sorrow. covered in awe, the audience remained completely still at times, barely breaking into a round of applause. it was unlike any musical performance that i had ever seen before; it was perfect.

of course, antony brought some smiles without saying a word, amazingly covering beyonce’s *crazy in love* with such invigoration and his own depth, like usual, taking such a pop song and bringing it to his own masterpiece level. some old favorites like “for today, i am a boy”, “river of sorrow”, “i fell in love with a dead boy” provided a new maturity and strength where songs like cripple and the starfish and rapture kept a tenderness that only those who witnessed the experience could ever understand.

inside my mind the music seemed to colorfully spiral and became so touching, inducing cold chills, forcing everything upon that victorian stage to blend its warmth. at times, i wondered if there may have been a halo surrounding antony or perhaps that i was just only seeing double due to my own tears. he felt hypnotizing, as sometimes we forget to and try not to when we need to, but looking around, everyone including my own mother was silently emotional. absolutely everything surrounding me became so peaceful, strange like the way a church should be, sharing tiny moments full of delicate non-conforming but necessary meditation, remaining comfortable, breathing, giving in and letting go. it was definitely a once in a lifetime changing, more than inspiring opportunity; it felt so important to be there and ill never forget it.

eyes are falling
lips are falling

hair is falling to the ground
slowly, softly
falling, falling
down in silence to the ground

all the world is
falling, falling
all the blue from me and you
tear drops falling to the ground

for instance.. oh my mama
she’s been falling
falling down
for quite some time
and oh my papa, he’s been falling
falling down for quite some time
oh my friends, i’ve watched them falling
falling softly to the ground
oh the leaves, the leaves are falling
down in silence to the ground

is this the rapture, is this the rapture
why don’t you tell me..
is this the rapture, is this the rapture

images. antony

8 Responses

  1. musicisart » Blog Archive » crazy in love.

    […] its been a few months since i got to experience antony live and ever since then, ive been thinking of his unbelievable performance covering beyonce’s crazy in love with the brooklyn philharmonic orchestra.  luckily over the weekend, antony and the johnsons played dalhalla sweden and to my surprise shared this very special rendition.  without any lack of hesitation, he perfectly turns a pop song into emotional darkness. […]

  2. Anonymous

    There has been mentioned a tape in a comment on music slut, so let’s keep the eyes open!
    If somebody has it in his hands, please share it on dime!

  3. music is art

    awww it was such a wonderful show. i wish you could’ve been there too mjrc 🙂

    unfortunatley, i dont think any taping was allowed for this show, but im hoping something appears… a lil video of crazy in love at least, it needs to be seen!

  4. mjrc

    you made me wish i could’ve been there. and the words to the song rapture are so beautiful, it’s almost too much to bear.