If there’s any singer that can sound the exact same live as he does in the recording studio, it’s Death cab For Cutie vocalist and guitarist Ben Gibbard. I learned this last night after seeing him and his bandmates live at the fine arts center on my school’s campus.
According to the program flyer, Death Cab played a show at my school exactly 10 years ago. I don’t know how much tickets cost then, but seeing as how Death Cab has exploded into superstardom since then, the price was $50 a ticket.
Steep, sure, but I didn’t care. That’s still pretty cheap for concert tickets, and seeing as how I’m actually in a position for the first time in my life where I can actually go to concerts, I took it! Besides, this show wasn’t just about me.
My younger sister had a birthday in February, and a while before that, when the tickets went on sale, I bought 2 for us AND IT WAS SO WORTH IT!
First off, this wasn’t just Death Cab. Their opening act was the great indie band Low, who I’ve loved ever since hearing this song on a podcast. They played a 10-song set that just chilled everybody out while simultaneously wowing them.
Then the Magik*Magik Orchestra, a string group founded to back artists like John Vanderslice, took the stage. They recorded some backing tracks for Death Cab’s most recent album Codes & Keys, so the band reinterpreted a chunk of their catalog to fit the orchestra’s sound.
After they played a stirring instrumental, Ben Gibbard came out and, leaning on the piano, led them in a stirring rendition of the song “Passenger Seat.” The rest of the band came out and from there, it was simply a magic blend of rock band and orchestra.
My sister, who’s been to more shows than me, including Warped Tour, said she was surprised by how chilled out everyone was. Nobody even stood up out of their seats until they launched into their current hit, “You Are A Tourist.”
After about 20 or so songs, they left the stage, but the audience–us included–clapped and cheered for a solid 5 minutes. Then the band came out, and launching into a stripped-down version of the new song “Doors Unlocked And Open,” proceeded to play another 20 songs!
Overall, it was a great night and probably the best birthday gift I’ve ever given my sister. Plus, at the merch line, I got Death Cab baseball cards. BASEBALL CARDS!
I mean, how cool is that? When you add great music into that, you’ve got yourself a great night.