I was sad to miss Burberry and Vogue‘s evening with The xx while I was traveling in Brazil recently, but was delighted to be invited by my lovely friends at Burberry, to come to the penultimate performance at the Park Avenue Armory.
Entering in a side entrance on Sixty-sixth Street, we were led to a small, cellar-like room where we were told we’d be starting. It was clear the band wasn’t going to perform in this tiny room filled with benches, so we sat and waited until we were told to turn off our phones and then guided down a maze of dark passages, with the odd light illuminating the collection of Armory antiques in the labyrinth below the building.
Soon we were led out of the passages, up a ramp, and into a small white cube, where the band was waiting in a sunken stage. We (all forty-five of us!) took our places around the perimeter of a square stage.
The performance was haunting and mesmerizing and so different than any other show I’ve ever experienced. It was so intimate. We were standing just an arm’s distance away from the band.
Initially, you felt that the cube you’re standing in is a solid structure, but as the band played, projections from outside filtered onto the walls of the structure and you began to realize that the cube had been set up in the center of the humongous hall, a room I’ve been in many times, for various shows and events. It wasn’t until the lights turned off, leaving you in the pitch black, and eventually turned on again, when the cube’s curtains were lifted, that you felt the sheer scale of the hall compared to the small piece of staging the audience shared with the band. I read afterwards that the band wanted to create the reverse experience of a traditional rock show, and they certainly did that successfully.
Photo: Courtesy of Kate Foley