We have all most likely come to the conclusion (those of us who are somewhat sensible and experienced anyhow) that out of all the bands that we see play in our lifetimes, we will only remember a handful of them. Of those shows that we will remember, probably about half of them will remain stuck in our minds for the wrong reasons, leaving only a small number of shows that we recall as being truly transcendent. Bon Iver‘s evening at Hollywood Forever was unquestionably one of those rare nights.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, The Hollywood Forever Cemetery, aside from being perfectly named, is a fairly large cemetery located right in the middle of Hollywood on a fittingly unglamorous stretch of Santa Monica Blvd. Founded in 1899 and with the legendary Paramount Studios (I’ll save the Sunset Blvd. references for another time) sitting just behind it, the cemetery houses some of old Hollywood’s most cherished corpses including Cecil B. DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and many other stars of Hollywood’s distant past. The cemetery itself is really nice to look at with lots of creepy/beautiful tombs, monuments and ponds but the public’s new interest in the place comes from the films that they’re started hosting there in the summer time. Every week or so in summer hundreds of people stream in through the ornate gates to watch films projected on the cemetery wall, drinking wine and eating picnics on the grass right in the middle of all the deceased. Sometimes the setting seems like pure novelty, like when going to see Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Other times however, the location gives the film screening a special something extra, like when they screened Susperia and Harold and Maude there a few summers back. All in all it’s been exciting to see the place embrace the living in the way that they have in recent years, but all this said, nothing could have really prepared me for the performance I witnessed on the morning of the 27th of September.