A 4-day dream come true

October 21, 2013
David Wexler

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros’ magical mystery ride concluded Sunday night, and for frontman Alex Ebert, the band’s Big Top circus was a 4-day dream come true.

“I can’t tell you what an amazing time this has been,” Ebert told the audience. “This whole time has been a dream — people playing out there on the piano and people strumming their guitars, just to be a part.”

The four-day event, held under a traditional Big Top tent, featured a unique mix of acrobats, magicians, jugglers, puppet masters, sword swallowers, and lots of great music and positive energy.

The finale on Sunday night was the band’s last scheduled U.S. concert of the year and the last for accordion player Nora Kirkpatrick, who has chosen to focus on her acting career. Kirkpatrick is joining Joel David Moore (Avatar), Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) and Jaime Pressly in the TV Land single-camera comedy pilot Jennifer Falls. Although she is stepping away from the band, Kirkpatrick said she plans to continue to remain active in the band’s charity, Big Sun Foundation, of which she is a board member.

In the middle of Home on Sunday night, Ebert and Jade Castrinos bid adieu to Kirkpatrick.

“How long have you been in this band — 5 or 6 years?” Castrinos said. “That’s crazy. We’ve been through all kinds of times together. You know what I’m saying.”

Following the emotional send-off, the band finished the hit song with “stories” from the crowd. One young woman shared a story about how she ended up at Big Top.

“So I actually wasn’t planning on coming tonight,” she said. “My sister called me today, and said ‘Today is the day when you say yes to everything. And when you say ‘yes’ to everything, you have all these great life experiences and it’s all about the story. So she’s like, ‘Hey, you may have work tomorrow, maybe you have school tomorrow, but how many times in your life do you go with a few really amazing friends to an amazing band under a really awesome big top?’ … Unbelievable, we love this band.”

The band then brought up a J.J. to the stage, who shared a story about being there for the recording of the song. He recalled how Ebert and Castrinos would burst out into laughter when singing the first verse of the song. “I don’t know how you ever finished it,” he said.

In all, the band played 11 songs on Sunday night, including a 16-minute version of Up From Below. Christian Letts performed his song When You’re Young from the band’s new self-titled album, while ringmaster Christopher Wonder performed an act that featured Sally the Circus Chicken, confetti throwing and cap gun shots.

The band also reached out to its fans for song selections. ESMZ performed Desert Song from their first album — complete with a story from Ebert about how he was given his full name.

“When I was born, my dad decided to go to the birth certificate area of the hospital and write down my name on the birth certificate” Ebert said. “He wrote ‘Alexander Michael Tahquitz Ebert. My mom said, ‘OK, what does it mean?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, it’s the name of a rock.’ So she asked, ‘Where is the rock?’ So they traveled to Idyllwild and had to ask a local, a Native American…. He said, ‘OK, it means the devil. ‘”

Earlier in the day, Edward Sharpe offered a variety of activities for families, including:

  • A tambourine painting area
  • Face painting
  • Arts & crafts booth
  • Yarn knitting
  • A “Little Top” matinee performance for children of all ages that included a familiar guest on stage: former ESMZ pianist Aaron Embry. Embry later performed songs from his new solo album, “Tiny Prayers,” with ESMZ guitarist Mark Noseworthy and bassist Seth Ford-Young dressed up in rooster and duck masks for Embry’s first number.


Christopher Wonder, ringmaster
“Are you ready to laugh? Are you ready to love? Are you ready to dance? Give it up for Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.”


Better Days
If I Were Free
Up From Below
Fiya Wata
When We’re Young
Ain’t Got No (Nina Simone cover)
That’s What’s Up
Desert Song
40-day Dream


Matinee Setlist:

Man on Fire
If You Wanna
When You’re Young
40-Day Dream
That’s What’s Up
I Saw Her Standing There
Every Part of You w/ Aaron Embry

One Comment

  1. Dear ESMZ,

    Thank you, thank you THANK YOU!!!! For the show!! My husband and I took our 3 yr old son to the Big Top for the Sunday Matinee. It was amazing! I knew I wanted to go a few months ago, but I wasn’t sure to make it a Mom-Dad date or a family day, and I am so glad we went to the Matinee! My son loved the experience so much! I loved the intimate setting…..I only wish it lasted longer! We went up to the front towards the end of the show and my son, husband, and i all high-fived Alex! it was so cute!

    The experience was inspiring, and thats an understatement! I hope you guys are able to do more Big Tops all around the world, and I hope you bring it back to LA area again!

    I know you guys are leaving the US…Happy travels! I reaaaaaaaally wanted to see Remember to Remember live…thats my favorite song. I was at the Hollywood Bowl when you played as well, did Jade sing it then?? I cant remember, I may have been too tipsy 😀 I would seriously fly to europe just to hear Jade sing that song.

    Love, joy and blessings to Nora as she moves on to acting!

    Is there really any other band like you guys????? thanks for keepin it real

    BTW…who was the guy that came up and played the harmonica and sang during the matinee? I think you mentioned him during the interview with KCRW on friday? He was awesome and had a great smile!!

    love what you guys do, thanks for sharing your dream.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.