Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Welcome to Night Vale, the All Hail tour 2017

 Running since 2012, the comedic yet sometimes thematically terrifying podcast Welcome to Night Vale is a witty mash of Lovecraftian entities, true to life conspiracies, and small town Americana. The happenings and history of the town are relayed by the mostly accurate community radio DJ  Cecil (played by actor Cecil Baldwin). I’ve only recently discovered the tapestry that is the desert town of Night Vale, and I like it. The town is full of secrets and twisted mundanities skillfully brought to life and light by the writers and performers, and as such I would be committing a grave disservice by “explaining it all”. Plus, the Night Vale City Council made it abundantly clear that I would find myself in the abandoned mine shaft outside of town or on a one-way trip to the Dog Park if I even thought about it. I mean literally even thought about it. All Hail the Glow Cloud and its rain of dead animals!

I like Welcome to Night Vale. It is the type of story and performance I wish I had thought of, yet glad I did not because I get to lazily sit back and enjoy it. Take a chance. See if it appeals to you. Start your own journey of ancient powers, high school bake sales, and deadly jazz festivals. 

But before you do, a quick review of the live performance I recently had the pleasure of attending at The Egg in Albany, NY. Each tour is different (this is far from their first) so I am NOT GOING TO GIVE SPOILERS. 

I was definitely a noob in a sea of longtime fans. Some attendees came dressed in character costumes (I say that counts as cosplay) while others brought homemade props. 

A very nice person who didn't mind getting a lot of pictures taken of her and the little Glow Cloud

 The musical guest for this year’s tour is Erin McKeown. Click here for her SITE. She engaged the audience, has a good voice, and best of all the talent to back it all up. I liked her tracks You Cannot and this other one about finding your voice as an artist whose title I did not catch! ARGH! I’ll track it down, not to worry.

The performance, done in the style of a live radio drama, was solid. Seeing Cecil crack himself up at one point was fun. Watching a performer get so deep into a role that they catch themselves off guard is always a pleasure. Several show regulars, such as co-creator and writer Joseph Fink, were on hand. I super really truly want to go into greater details about the show and its new information but I don’t want to release spoilers into the world. That would be like poking open a spider’s egg sack onto the head of a sleeping loved one. Sure, it is good for a laugh but the aftermath can never be undone. I guess it is not a spoiler to say the show focuses on the Glow Cloud. It is implied in the title after all. Can I hint that we learn things about the Glow Cloud? Can I hint the info comes from the Glow Cloud itself? I’ve said too much. I just saw a Sheriff’s Secret Police cruiser slow down in front of my house. Not to worry, however. If you are a fan and cannot make it to a live show, or if you become a fan and want to get up to speed, a tour video will be released. Meg said so and I trust Meg no matter what she says.

I’m not trying to be cryptic, honestly. The detail and life breathed into the show by the cast and actors is great and wide. Handing you more on a silver platter would ruin it. And cost me a lot of money. Silver is not cheap.

Plus I'd have to explain what Cecil was doing to the crowd in the name of science. 

Then this happened.
What are all the microphones for? Nothing to see here!
The only shadow to fall upon the night came in the form of social commentary. It was a bit thick a few times which pulled me back into the real world. Everyone has a personal bubble when it comes to entertainment. When an unexpected needle comes into contact with it, the sudden ‘pop’ pushes us back into the reality we’re trying to take a little break from. Sometimes the needle is a gap in story logic, poor dialogue, or in my case heavy social commentary in any form. It only happened a few times in an overwhelmingly enjoyable experience, to be very clear. That’s the only reason they stood out. I would will take the opportunity to see the cast perform again. Hell, I sprang for a t-shirt!

T-shirts mean you were there!
Bottom line: I had a good time. I would go again. I look forward to the episodes (and perhaps the books) I haven’t listened to yet. I really want to go into more detail on the show’s plot but I can’t and it is not sitting well. I’m the kind of guy that when asked what time it is will tell you how to build a clock! Try the series for yourself. Judge for yourself. If I didn’t think it was worth your time, I wouldn’t have brought it up to begin with. 

Goodnight, Gentle Reader. Goodnight.

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