Magic in the air at Big Top

October 19, 2013
David Wexler

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros picked up where they left off Thursday during the second night of their four-day magical mystery ride.

Acrobats, puppet masters and contortionists warmed up the crowd, followed by a 12-song set that frontman Alex Ebert described as “truly magical.”

“Wow- flat-out,” Ebert tweeted after the concert.

Ringmaster Christopher Wonder may have put it best as he introduced Edward Sharpe before the band took the circular, revolving stage in the Big Top tent.

“What an amazing night. What an amazing dream,” Wonder said.

The dream started when the band led off with Up From Below, not one of their usual openers, and ended with a riveting performance of Om Nashi Me.

The show was extra special for singer Jade Castrinos, whose father played the slide guitar along with the band during Fiya Wata. George Castrinos actually played in the studio recording of the song from ESMZS’s second album, “Here.” He almost didn’t get the opportunity to play with Jade, as he forgot his slide. Luckily, he was able to borrow one at the last minute.

“I usually bring a slide with me, but I didn’t have one this time,” he said. “I wasn’t going to play, but Jade wanted me to, so I just did it.”

George Castrinos will perform at Big Top on Sunday at 7 p.m. with his band, Saint James Band, which opened for ESMZ in October 2012 in Castrinos’ hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla.

George Castrinos was a proud father after the concert.

“Not too many people know the Jade when she was younger, she would always be belting out Led Zeppelin tunes and just lying on the floor doing Janice Joplin/Robert Plant licks,” he said. “Fiya Wata is such a beautiful song. The slide goes naturally with it. When I play it right, it works.”

While the band mixed up the set list, some of Thursday’s favorites were back. During I Don’t Wanna Pray, members of the band (including Christian Letts, Crash and Stewart Cole) took turns singing their own verses. Ebert then asked for audience members to create their own verses.

The fan interaction continued during Home, when fans offered up their “stories” to Ebert.

“Your music saved my life,” said 23-year-old ESMZ fan Ryder Buck, of Burbank, Calif. “All your music … everything, it just saved my life. … I am so grateful … I love you all, just thank you.”

Buck, a songwriter and singer himself, recently saw the band perform at the Hollywood Bowl, but was blown away by Friday’s Big Top performance.

“This is the experience,” said Buck, a songwriter/singer. “Everybody is here for the band and for the whole vibe that they bring, and that’s amazing. You can feel the energy in the crowd.”

Buck said he was turned on to then band after hearing Home when the song first came out.

“I think that’s the most powerful thing you can do in music is just move people and bring them up,” Buck said. “It’s not about being a rock star. It’s about bringing people in. You see Alex dancing around with the crowd and bringing people together, and that’s what it’s all about. That’s what music should be used for. It’s a powerful tool and a gift if you use it for the right thing, and I love it.”

The magic was in the air, literally. During When We’re Young, Christopher Wonder took center stage for some entertainment with Sally the Circus Act.


Up From Below
Life is Hard
Man On Fire
Fiya Wata
I Don’t Wanna Pray
40 Day-Dream
When We’re Young
Motion Animal
Remember to Remember
Ain’t Got No/I Got Life (Nina Simone cover)
Om Nashi Me

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