Listening to Elliott Smith’s Live at Largo takes depression to a new level. I mean, it’s pretty standard to listen to Elliott when you are depressed, want to be depressed, or when your subconscious is telling you that you need a good ol’ cry. But listening to Live at Largo is a full on depression much deeper than the standard mood sludge that Elliott puts you in. For me, it’s a true and pure depression for the fact that I never got to see this man perform.
I cannot fully emphasize how gorgeous his guitar echoes out of my iPod, with its crappy MP3 format sound, with the $10 pair of Sony speakers that I bought to sit on my desk at work. I’m listening to this music in its ugliest form, and it still blows my mind. Elliott just sings it so true and so right, and the guitar sounds more alive than ever… than in many of his recordings, in fact. Something seems vivid, and some of the beautiful trance that Smith usually concocts falls away in favor of a new sound. A beautiful one; it lives and breathes, and it’s just so real.
It’s a blessing is to hear him and the audience chuckle on “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down.” And to hear the sweet, delicate way his fingers fall across the strings on “Angeles,” my all-time favorite. This is (and not to sound cliché, which it will) music for the soul. Emotional, beautiful, ever-evolving notes that gain significance over time. They grow, and these songs are legends, and the sick feeling that I get from the fact that I never got to witness this man’s live performance plants a pit in my stomach that just expands.