CHRIS THILE & EDGAR MEYER
Wednesday, Oct. 15
Meymandi Concert Hall at Progress Energy Center
The syncopated toe tapping of Edgar Meyer’s oxford and heel clicking of Chris Thile’s sneaker were amplified in the unusually intimate setting of Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall Wednesday, Oct. 15. The virtuosos performed selections from their self-titled collaboration of mandolin and double-bass duets, released last month on Nonesuch, and a smattering of covers to a quarter-full crowd. Meyer duly noted the reasons for low attendance: economic woes, the final presidential debate, and the decisive fifth game of the National League Championship Series.
“Given the television viewing tonight, I assume everyone here has already made up their mind,” he commented shortly into the first set, which somehow didn’t elicit any of the direct Obama endorsements much of the crowd gave early in the evening.
Despite attendance woes, Thile and Meyer were in good spirits, whether cracking smiles and chuckling at one another or chiding each other for the appropriateness of song titles (or lack thereof) and a set list error that nearly caused them to play the same song twice. Though Thile was the more animated of the two, both were highly expressive with their instruments, as on the playful joy of “The Farmer and The Duck.” During the reflective beauty of J.C. Bach’s “Duet for the Organ,” the mandolin and double-bass pulled in the same melodic directions, straying from the counter-melodies typical of most selections during the two-hour performance.
Perhaps none conjured more vivid imagery than the improvised “Squishy Takes a Ride,” a thematic piece based off audience suggestions that relayed the tale of a preschool loudmouth, serving his punishment by mowing the schoolyard, when a slip on a banana peel puts that titular charactera salamander, of coursein peril.