Arts & Events

Death Cab for Cutie’s first arena show a grand success

Death Cab for Cutie and the Head and the Heart began their first arena show Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Key Arena in Seattle.

That evening, the stage became an enlarged playground for both bands. Each song had a force of excitement and fun powering it, while the band members danced around stage, playing in their element.

The Head and the Heart opened the show with their familiar, powerful and folky tones. They related to the crowd, revealing that some of the members had grown up in Seattle.

The Head and the Heart played “Rivers and Roads” for their final song, an appropriate choice given that it is one of the most powerful songs the group has to offer.

After The Head and the Heart finished their set, the arena pulsed with anticipation for Death Cab’s portion of the concert to begin. Numerous age groups occupied the spaces, affirming that Death Cab For Cutie is a band enjoyed by all ages.

The concert began with a wash of bright colors as the bassist, Nick Harmer, began the opening of Death Cab’s song “I Will Possess Your Heart” from their album Narrow Stairs.

Ben Gibbard, the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie, bounced around the stage throughout the entire concert. He proved he was a man of many instruments, playing the piano, guitar and, at one point, drums. With each instrument Gibbard took on, his energy increased. Gibbard was hardly stationary during any portion of the concert; he was a musical blur.

In between songs, Gibbard chatted with the audience, and at one point addressed a specific audience member to apologize for any sweat droplets coming at him. Gibbard even dedicated the next song to him.

While addressing the crowd, Gibbard also commented on how while playing their first arena show, Death Cab felt like a “less rocking Led Zeppelin.” Right after Gibbard said that, his guitar began to malfunction.

After the band went through the song without the guitar, Gibbard joked it was Led Zeppelin punishing him for comparing Death Cab to them.

When Gibbard wasn’t talking, his music and movement spoke for him. The clear elation portrayed in Gibbard’s guitar playing and singing added to the concert’s warm vibe.

To accent the music, an array of colored lights washed across the stage, and at times images would appear on the screens behind the band. Constellations, patterns and  many different hues lit up Death Cab for Cutie and added to the emotion of the concert.

Death Cab for Cutie used their image technology to their advantage when during their song “Title and Registration,” a video of a car driving in the rain was projected on the back wall.  The video was an appropriate pairing for the song’s lyrics, which begin with a discussion of a glove compartment. Beyond the literal interpretation, the projection created an excellent vibe while the song was playing.

“The Sound of Settling” was the first song Death Cab tried to close with. Yet once they exited stage for the first time, the crowd refused to take no for an answer. For several minutes the crowd remained clapping, persistently requesting an encore.

Finally, the band resumed their positions on stage and played four more songs for the eager crowd. “Transatlanticism” was their final song.

Overall, the concert felt like an open invitation to join what seemed to be for both bands the best time of their lives.

While Key Arena presented a foreign concert format for both bands, they ran with it, making the concert a huge success for everyone involved.