Quando Alex partiu para o Alasca’, relembra Franz, ‘eu rezei. Pedia a Deus que ficasse de olho nele, disse-lhe que aquele garoto era especial. Mas Ele deixou Alex morrer. Então, no dia 26 de dezembro, quando fiquei sabendo do que aconteceu, renunciei ao Senhor. Abandonei minha igreja e tornei-me ateu. Decidi que não podia acreditar num Deus que deixava uma coisa tão terrível acontecer a um menino como Alex.
—  Na Natureza Selvagem, página 71.

I went all out.  This show was announced and I paid a pretty penny for two VIP tickets, second row, middle seats.  Well, I had to.   Push comes to shove, Sparks are my favorite band, mainly because they’ve been so many different bands in evolving genres over the years.  This occasion, in which they performed their classic 1974 album Kimono My House backed by a 38-piece orchestra in a theatre setting, a show they put on previously last year in London, was not to be missed.  (To nerd-up for a second, Kimono is my third favorite Sparks album behind Propaganda and Angst In My Pants).

February 14th, Valentine’s Day, seems to be a special day for Sparks and Theatre at the Ace Hotel.  The first time I saw Sparks perform was on Valentine’s Day 2009 here in Los Angeles at the Royce Hall where they played their then current album Exotic Creatures Of The Deep in the first half and Kimono My House in the second, back by a full band.  The Ace Hotel Theatre had it’s own Valentine’s Day anniversary after having reopened last year with a performance of Spiritualized performing Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (no, I didn’t see that show, Neil).  Significant date for both parties to say the least.

What am I going to say about the show?  My opinion is unbiased at this point, so yes, it was incredible.  Kimono My House was absolutely complemented by the orchestration, not to mention the selection of songs from their other albums they played after.  All great.  let’s play our continually popular game on these live writeup:  Were there guests?  One.  Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand guesting on When Do I get To Sing “My Way”.  I could take or leave that.  I never listened Franz Ferdinand which doesn’t mean I don’t like them, I just don’t know them, but I guess I’m going to have to learn to like them now with FFS.  But if we want to count cool people in the audience, Morrissey walked by me during the intermission, because of course he was there, and Ty Segall sat behind me.  That’s an audience marker of cool.

I’ve seen Sparks five times now and (almost) each time has been different:   the aforementioned full band version of two albums, a staged performance of their The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman opera, and two times with their sparse Ron and Russell only Two Hands One Mouth tour.  Each time is fantastic.

I always try to convert a Sparks virgin at these shows and I did again at this one.  And they understand now that five times isn’t enough.  We, like many, spent my Valentine’s with a great love.

Highlights:  Thank God It’s Not Christmas, Equator, Let The Monkey Drive, Dick Around, The Number One Song In Heaven