Death Cab For Cutie came to the Philly area (again) and since they literally were playing just down the street by about 30 minutes from where I live, I had to go tonight. Unfortunately, since I waited so long to get tickets even though I could have gotten them presale, I was in the second to last row of the venue (in this case, the Tower Theater in Upper Darby) and it wasn’t sold out.
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists were the opening band. They definitely rocked out to an audience that really was waiting for Death Cab.
This was Death Cab’s first official show of their Fall 2006 tour and it was readily apparent - some forgotten lyrics and a few goof ups on stage. They opened with “405 (Acoustic)”, which didn’t provide for a dynamic opening. In fact, a few songs in, Ben Gibbard had to implore “This is a rock show, you can stand up.” Once they brought in all of the instruments, there was a problem with the bass drum as the reverb was overpowering on some songs - to the point that after the concert, I overheard a few different people mention that there was something wrong with the sound tonight.
Basically their setlist contained songs from Plans, Transatlanticism, The Photo Album, You Can Play These Songs With Chords and The Forbidden Love EP. (The mix of songs could have had more energy.) They played “The President of What?” from You Can Play These Songs With Chords and instead of the voiceover, they used some weird electric keyboard chord progression (there were more than a few puzzled looks in the audience). They played “Start Again” (I have it as a bonus track from an iTunes download of Plans), which Ben said they hadn’t played live before. There was a solid rocking out with a guitar and drum solo towards during “Transatlanticism”. I didn’t recognize one song at the end of the main part of the show.
I expected them to play “World Shut Your Mouth” but they didn’t. Also, I found out that I am not the only one who really doesn’t care for “Brothers on a Hotel Bed” - the audience seemed not to care for it either.
In sum, if you dig Death Cab and can sing along to their lyrics because you know them by heart (which many of us did in the audience), you’ll enjoy seeing them this fall. However, if you’re looking for something new from Death Cab, this is not the tour.
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