So after months of waiting for the tickets to come in the mail, which they didn’t it was time for the concert. We arrived at the Tower Theater before the show and found our seats (they changed teh tickets to will call but didn’t apologize). We had fourth row seats, if you don’t include teh five rows of folding chairs that were in front of us. Here we were, the fourth time I was seeing Death Cab for Cutie and the second time for Brianne. This time they had an eight piece orchestra, Magik Magik Orchestra, supporting them. They had had the orchestra help out on some of the songs on Codes and Keys so it makes sense this time to bring them along, that’s what Ben said.
May 2, 2012
Death Cab For Cutie Concert Review
As the clock struck eight out walked the opening act, an old school indie band called Low that hails from Minnesota. After forty five minutes of agonizing old school indie music that sounded like grunge had had sex with Sonic Youth the band left that stage. The only highlight from that set list of theirs was on the one song they needed a bassist because someone had to do piano and out stepped Ben to take the bass. That was the only highlight of the opening act. It was so bad that people had flooded out to get hammered while this act was gone.
After a brief intermission, aka the set up for DCFC they took the stage. The orchestra started up with it’s strings on “Passenger Seat” before Ben and the gang came out and took stage. Following a beautiful rendition of this track they flowed seamlessly into “Different Names for the Same Thing” which almost moved me to cry due to how freaking powerful the strings were in teh accompaniment of teh full band. The whole sound was incredible and took me for well a shock.
“A Movie Script Ending” sort of broke up this smooth beauty as teh strings were cut back a bit on the track seeing as it’s not an orchestra friendly piece. Ben’s voice as usual sounded almost exactly like it was on the record but you can tell he’s not lip syncing as some of the things are changed like the pitch and occasionally the way the song goes (see him doing a live version of the New Year). As they followed that one up with another tune that didn’t use the orchestra to it’s full potential but still sounded pretty nice was “Title and Registration” off of the best album of all time, Transatlanticism.
Ben had some chatter about how much he loved playing in Philly, which seems to be a sentiment shared by a vast majority of musicians who get the kind of welcome from Philly that is positive. The crowd loved it, and they segued into “Grapevine Fires” which utilized the orchestra a bit more and it was always interesting to see how they used teh group in some of these songs that really never could work well with it. They then moved into a pair of tunes off of Codes and Keys that showed off teh orchestra’s talent as “Codes and Keys” and “Underneath the Sycamore” were played back to back.
The orchestra then was added even further into “Little Fury Bags” which was mainly the orchestra unless I totally missed it and am confusing it with another tune, this is an older song, and I sometimes hate when it happens because I never got into the older stuff because I always thought it would sound well bad. The next track was “Death Of An Interior Decorator” which has become one of my more recent favorites from the band and the fact that they played that song in general was pretty neat.
“You Are a Tourist” is another tune that got the whole place up on their feet and dancing around, for a show that was supposed to have everyone seated people were up on their feet a lot and well this might be the only song of theirs that might contribute to a dance around. After these songs they slowed it down again with two older tracks, “Bend to Squares” and “Hindsight” before jumping back into a more uplifting sound with “Cath…” which got the audience even more involved.
Following a beautiful rendition of “No Joy in Mudville” was one of my favorite tunes off of Planes, “What Sarah Said” which was incredible and almost once again moved me to tears. This is one of those songs that just sounds great on it’s own but add in teh violins and you get something really awesome sounding. They closed out their first set with “Soul Meets Body” and the new set closer “Stay Young, Go Dancing” and with that th ey were off.
Chants of “We want Death Cab” filled up the theater and after a brief time of them not being on the stage the band came out and Ben noted that they had never heard that before. Of course it would be Philly doing that. After they blew threw “Steadier Footing” they went into an REM cover, and then quickly moved into “405.” The orchestra came back out as “Monday Morning” and “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” got their accompaniment and it was clear that teh show was ending soon.
They closed out the show with their two most powerful songs, “Tiny Vessels” and of course “Transatlanticism.” And with that they were off into the night. While the show was amazing it still pales in comparison to the Troc’s show but the addition of the orchestra made this a once in a lifetime experience and the next time they come it will mark the fifth time I’ll have seen them and this is what is so great about music. A band like this comes each time and it’s a new experience, yes you know the songs but they don’t always sound the same, as we saw this time, sure “Cath…” sounded different the three times they played it in three of the four times I’ve seen them, when they just put the album out, when they had it out for a while and now, each time it’s different and Ben knows how to make a live show worth the cost.