By Irena Azovsky
A dance off between Baltimore and New York, a sing along to “Wham City” with lyric sheets, confused security guards and a really long line of jealous people who came late outside of the museum, peering in through the big windows from the street above: all included in the Dan Deacon show at the Whitney Museum of American Art on Friday.
The lucky among us who came an hour early were packed wall to wall alongside the expensive souvenirs in the gift shop and the “food” in the cafe area of the museum. Most made an effort to be bright and in costume, as was requested by Dan in a MySpace bulletin post:
Since its a fancy, well respected museum please dress as INSANE/STUPID/COSTUMED/TO THE 9’s/CRAZY. this will be a lights-on-the-whole-time show it would be awesome if the audience looked totally bonkers, colorful, and weird. this performance will be a very heavy audience participation type show. i’m counting on you
There were plenty of interesting characters: balloon head man, tigers, bears, (no lions), and plenty of others who lacked an obvious catgory. Dan came out to a flourish of cheers and promptly ran away. He returned, announcing that he’d had to change his pants. This excited the crowd even more.
During the first song, everyone began pushing and moshing, nearly falling over and taking Dan’s setup with them. Dan suggested replacing the urge to push with pumping both fists in the air. It seemed to work.
In the middle of the show, Dan called a dance off between Baltimore and New York. As “Snake Mistakes” played, characters from each side had to out-dance each other. Things got quirky. After another song, Dan encouraged everyone to hold their hands up and touch them to another person’s in order to build a bridge for people to run under, before adding themselves to the chain.
Towards the end of the show, there was plenty of crowd participation when it came to singing along, especially since the set was being recorded by Chester Gwazda. Lyric sheets were provided for the crowd, although everybody already seemed to know the lyrics to “Wham City” by heart. This was the last song of the night, and there were many attempted to crowd surf one last time.