Show Review: Death Cab For Cutie at The Greek Theater 7/11/2009

by Dakin Hardwick on July 14, 2009

Hey Cutie! Wanna Ride In My Death Cab? (Actual pick up line heard outside of venue)

Hey Cutie! Wanna Ride In My Death Cab? (Actual pick up line heard outside of venue)

So, in a bit of autobiographical information, I was recently “relieved of my working duties.”  In fact, that was on Friday, July 10th. I was going to have to work a very long day on the 11th initially, and now I suddenly had the day off. So, I sat around and sulked all day.  After I was done sulking, I decided take BART to Berkeley, and go see a show before I couldn’t afford to pay my way in to shows anymore. (This is an exaggeration. I am eligible for unemployment, so I will have some money.) Well, as I am walking towards the show, it starts raining.  I see a couple of scalpers, and I talk to one of them that I have seen at shows before.  I buy a ticket off him very cheap, because he wanted to get out of the rain.

So, I walk in on Andrew Bird finishing up his set.  I enjoy him whenever anyone puts him on, but I have never purchased one of his records, nor have I seen him live, aside from the couple of times I saw the Squirrel Nut Zippers in high school.  He’s good. He looked very appropriate in the rain, with a band all wearing vintage suits & playing vintage instruments.  It was really cool, but I  only got about 5 minutes of him.

The rain began to clear up during the break between sets. I was actually a little disappointed by this fact. I have always wanted to enjoy a show in the rain, but alas, I just get to be damp.

Death Cab opened with “Marching Bands Of Manhattan,” the lead track from Plans. This has set a decidedly different tone from their shows in the last few years.  Lately, we have seen a much more aggressive version of the band on stage, playing much faster, much louder, and very ferocious. Instead, we have a version of the band closer to what we hear on record. They let the songs build slowly, and it was a relatively gentle set.

In the case of Death Cab, gentle still isn’t boring. They were lively on stage, and took the time improvise a bit. The first portion of the set had every song segue directly in to each other.  They are very professional, and played as such a band.  They didn’t talk much to the crowd, aside from a few thank yous, and guitarist Chris Walla decided to take a poll of various different Bay Area area codes, and to see who lived where.

The show was 90 minutes long, on the nose. They didn’t veer from the set list at all. Ben Gibbard’s voice was pristine, as usual. The playing was proficient, and the set list was near perfect. They balanced between current hits and classic fan favorites, so nobody would feel left out.  My only problem with the set was that it seemed completely free of risks.  Even the short improv bits between songs felt as if they were doing all they could to stay as safe as possible. They even ended their set at 10:30, a full half hour before the Greek’s 11pm curfew, just to insure that they don’t go over.  Rock N Roll is supposed to be a bit dangerous, and Death Cab just didn’t have it. It was a safe show, where you got exactly what you paid for, and nobody left feeling that they got less than what they were looking for.

Here’s The Set List:

Thanks to the kid sitting behind the sound board for letting us take this pic!

Thanks to the kid sitting behind the sound board for letting us take this pic!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline July 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm

It’s too bad you didn’t get to hear Andrew Bird whistle, which is phenomenal…I love that guy. I wish I didn’t find Death Cab so boring otherwise, I would have loved to see Andrew Bird again.


David Price July 16, 2009 at 11:29 am

Agreed, Andrew Bird’s whistle is unbelievable.


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