Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Osheaga: When Magic Happens
The crowd was waiting impatiently, the applause was warm. There was quite a reaction when he finally walked onto the Scène de la Rivière. And yes, I am talking about Edward Sharpe, aka Alexander Ebert, and his band. Torn shirt, haircut reminiscent of Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands, Ebert appeared. He charmed a crowd already conquered in advance. What a show! I could not imagine such a wonderful performance. It was an incredible experience. Memorable. I am short of words, but I would add “extraordinary” to my description of the performance.
Ebert, founder of the group, shook the Montreal crowd from the first song. He took care of the spectators and had them participate. Two fans had the opportunity to invent a verse live. One of the two fans has even tried to rap. The crowd warmly encouraged them. This crowd was alive.
The sound of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros reminds me of the ’60s punctuated by rock and country accents. Expertly arranged, we were treated to energetic, rhythmic and even melancholic songs. All emotions were solicited. I was surprised by how I was moved. The emotion, the passion and energy that emerge from Ebert are electrifying. It was simply exhilarating. He did not hesitate to dance, feeling every word, every moment. He spoke, rapped, he seemed to improvise at times. I must also speak of his voice, an inhabited, hoarse and strong voice. The strong voices of musicians who accompanied Ebert produced a powerful unison.
The dynamism of the singer was always increasing. The rhythm of the songs was driving. People raised their hands in the air at the request of Ebert. The crowd sent balloons into the air. This huge crowd also knew the lyrics. The group leader loved the crowd, he even took a walkabout. He sang among fans that were laying hands on him like he was Jesus. Then the show took a different turn when the song If I Were Free began. Ebert’s clear whistle was heard.
Then a young man in a wheelchair was lifted above the crowd, helped by his friends. The singer invited him to come on stage. Though it took a few minutes, under the encouragement of Ebert and applause of the crowd, the young man arrived safely. Taking a picture with the young man and his friends, and singing near them, Ebert was warm. It must have been an incredible moment for this young man and his friends. Sharpe also wanted to hear the story of the young man as the one we can hear in the song. The crowd once again applauded. The magic continued to operate as Ebert began to sing the song Home. It is these moments that are sought by festival-goers, I’m sure. These moments create a real event. These magic moments that make a very memorable performance. The closing of the show was great. Worthy of a great festival, Edward and the Magnetic Zeros Shape charmed the audience, myself included.