The Decemberists | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN

A packed crowd at The Fillmore stalked the stage, awaiting Colin Meloy and the rest of The Decemberists’ circus-like performance, full of tongue twisted lyrics and fantasy. Touring on their What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World LP from 2015, old fans were shouting for earlier favorites like “Red Right Ankle” and “The Chimbley Sweep.” After opening with a passionate “Crane Wife” parts 1, 2, and 3, everyone was at ease.

About halfway through the set, Meloy chimed in, “Springtime in Fishtown, how wistful!” and broke right into an amazingly nostalgic “Red Right Ankle,” duly awaited by fans. The band didn’t bring too many new songs with them, but had the audience singing along to “Everything is Awful,” a State of the Union-esque tune that everyone could get down with.

What’s amazing about a Decemberists fan is the varied forms in which they take. The grown man cooing lyrics to “Shiny,” seeming to really find meaning in the melancholy story. There’s a couple next to him screaming together during the ten minutes of “The Hazards of Love.” “We’re going to pick up with our hero and heroine mid-story,” Colin yelled, and fans caught on right away. And then there’s the new Decemberists devotee, running around in an oversized band t-shirt, but gleefully dancing along to “Valencia” even though it’s past his bedtime.

During a fake-out second encore, Meloy closed with “a song to welcome summer,” and played an always-gorgeous “June Hymn” off The King is Dead.

The Crane Wife 1 & 2
The Crane Wife 3
Down by the Water
We Both Go Down Together
The Wrong Year
Make You Better
Red Right Ankle
Lake Song
Everything is Awful
We All Die Young
The Abduction of Margaret
The Queen’s Rebuke / The Crossing
O Valencia!
The Chimbley Sweep

The Tain

Encore 2:
June Hymn