Rilo Kiley: How to start a pit at a show

Or, how to render the three-song limit suddenly and irreversibly irrelevant

The Rilo Kiley show went off without a hitch last night. That is, aside from the possibility that I inadvertently created a pit at the front of the stage in the seating-only Jesse Auditorium. I don't think it's the egotism, really.

The auditorium, situated in the historic Jesse Hall on the campus of University Missouri-Columbia, seats 1,700 and has seen such touring acts as Ella Fitzgerald and Tina Turner. While seemingly not quite at capacity, the show last night produced a strong turnout for LA's favorite indie rock sons and daughter.

As a theater-style venue with reserved seating, few showed up early to the hall. When doors opened at 7:30, tickets were scanned and helpful attendants ushered people to their assigned seats.

This was all well and good, and right up until the first openers, Grand Ole Party, stepped onstage, all those butts were locked into an alpha-numeric grid.

As the San Diego trio greeted the audience, I left my seat to head to the front of the stage and get to work, pausing stage left to put on put on the photo pass. Just as the band launched into their set of growling, bluesy, funk-infused rock, I reached the middle of the stage and began to shoot. A few bars into the first song, the the stage lights came up and I lock ed down the exposure. That's when the bodies started rushing the stage.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see people peeling off from their seats like musical chairs in reverse. In a spontaneous display of group consciousness, the first third of the auditorium seemed to decide that, suddenly, they were simply not close enough to the stage, there's someone up at the front, and reserved seating be damned if they weren't going to be up there, too.

Half-way into the first song the crowd at the front of the stage is rolling deep for the length of the stage, and it's impossible to move freely without bumping into a vintage t-shirt.

Images from the show are coming up soon.