Best Free Concert With Unexpected Pyro (2011)


The Hudson River's Pier 54, home to the summertime RiverRocks concert series, is a lovely place to take in a show; the sun sinks over the horizon as the headliner really gets going, curious onlookers who have rented boats for the evening paddle up from the right side and peer into the crowd. The July 14 show by tUnE-YarDs was a particular marvel; one-woman show Merrill Garbus whooped and looped her joyous tunes, scraping away at her ukulele as her voice shook the venue 10 times over. As the show drew to a close with the triumphant "Killa," during which Garbus declared her existence as a "new kind of woman," fireworks rose from New Jersey; the gesture seemed appropriate to the amount of kinetic energy possessed by her music. As the music faded into the night, and the fireworks continued, people in attendance lingered, transfixed by the explosions happening over the river. (As it turned out, the pyrotechnics were actually part of a Bastille Day celebration co-sponsored by MSNBC and not the result of a spontaneous outpouring of cash on the part of RiverRocks' organizers, though they really couldn't have asked for a better musical lead-in.)


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