I went to Los Angeles to celebrate the 4th of July with my husband…and to see Death Cab for Cutie play the Hollywood Bowl on July 5th. I first heard about the show just as I was missing them play the Fox in Atlanta and I was determined not to miss them again, so I booked my flight and counted down the days until the tickets went on sale.
Before I continue, I should preface this post with some background (that I’m completely biased). I love Ben Gibbard (the lead singer). One of my very first blog ideas was (and I quote) titled, “Ben Gibbard Rocks.” It’s not that he is particularly sexy so it’s not that kind of love, but there is something about his voice and his words that just get me. I also find it interesting that he studied engineering, yet he can have such a poetic, artistic side. Maybe it’s not so unusual for engineers to have this duality…
We got to the Hollywood Bowl early. We had parked at the Kodak Theater parking and walked the 0.75 miles to the venue. (As advice to future Bowl patrons, this worked out really nicely. It was $10 to park, a short walk, and we avoided the nightmare parking that was at the venue itself. They do stacked parking at the Bowl, so you can’t leave until the guy in front of you returns to his car. It looked incredibly frustrating and like an accident waiting to happen. Just my 2 cents…) Part of neat thing about the Hollywood Bowl is the atmosphere. You bring a picnic, some wine, sit and relax with friends outdoors and wait for the show to start. Joe and I brought some snack foods (peaches and sun chips) and some wine, but quickly got food envy of those around us. These people went WAY beyond the regular cheese, meat and crackers. We saw salads, tortellini, homemade salsas, …everything looked so good! (Second piece of advice: BRING WINE!! If you don’t and decide you want some during the performance, its like $40. Plan ahead and buy 4 bottles instead and make it a REALLY good night.) Our seats were decent. We were about probably half-way up (or down), so far enough away that the people on stage looked quite small, but the could have been a LOT smaller if we were at the top. We had binoculars which came in handy for assisted viewing.
At 7pm, the first to perform was The New Pornographers. I had heard some of their music before (primarily on SomaFM) and they put on a decent performance. I particularly enjoyed hearing “Sing me Spanish Techno.” They also addressed their band name by saying “…We’ve heard that some of you find our name offensive. But you are okay with Cutie getting killed in a Death Cab. That hardly seems fair!!” 🙂 They played for ~30 minutes and were followed by Teagan & Sara. The banter between the two sisters was quite enjoyable. They made it clear how nervous they felt playing to such a large crowd (the Bowl seats ~17,000 people) when she said, “….I’m sorry I can’t say anything witty right now. There’s so many of you staring at me and you’re making me nauseous….but in a good way.” (…I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.) That is something I appreciate in a concert. I want to hear the artist speak. There is something amazing about hearing the music live, but I always appreciate the small dialog that give the audience a glimpse at what kind of people are up there behind the microphone.
Tegan & Sara
Joe and I both liked Tegan & Sara’s performance, with the small exception of some noisy patrons right next to us! Anyway, I was so paranoid about having to go to the restroom mid-performance that I scurried to the ladies room right as Tegan & Sara’s last song was ending. I got there and thought the line was long already, but when I got out…it was the longest line I’ve ever seen. It just kept going & going…so thankfully, we got back to our seats with plenty of time!
The lights went out and Death Cab for Cutie took the stage. I started to cry a little. Out section was pretty mellow so as they were walking out, I started to muffle my shouts of joy. Then Joe whispered to me…”Its okay to yell, Sara.”….so ater that, I certainly did. Oh, it was beautiful. Song after song, I was so happy when each started as I thought to myself, “Oooo, I love this one!!” It’s such a wonderful concert experience when you truly enjoy all of a group’s music…then you aren’t waiting through the entire concert for that one song to come on. I thought it would have been funny had they played “Why’d You Want to Live Here” a song that details his LA experience, stating that the city smells like an airport runway and discusses people having trouble breathing. I wonder if that would’ve gone over well with the crowd…
I was unsure how the concert was going to happen as they were scheduled to play with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. I really wanted to hear them play some of their normal stuff with their typical sound, as that is what I fell in love with, but I was excited to hear this unique performance with an orchestra as well. The broke it up into 2 main sections: 11 songs with just Death Cab, the closing out with the Philharmonic playing behind them. It seemed that sometimes the orchestra with the band didn’t mix perfectly, but overall I found it to be very enjoyable. The set list is below…
Death Cab for Cutie set list:
“Marching Bands of Manhattan”
“Your Heart is an Empty Room”
“The New Year”
“President of What?”
“I Will Possess Your Heart”
“The Sound of Settling”
With the Los Angeles Philharmonic:
“I Will Follow You Into the Dark”
“You Can Do Better Than Me”
“Title and Registration”
“A Movie Script Ending”
“Soul Meets Body”
I particularly enjoyed “The New Year”, “I Will Possess Your Heart”, “Grapevine Fires”, and “Transatlanticism”. The finale, “Transatlanticism” was breath-taking. There were fireworks going off behind the stage, timed perfectly to the music. I watched a youtube video that someone had made of the finale, and the best thing it does is remind me of the amazing feeling I had while I was there. It doesn’t even come close to portraying how fabulous it was.
We finally made it home around 12:30AM, and I had to catch a 7:50AM flight that morning. I was so tired the next day, but it was more than worth it. So from that night, I have a DCFC tshirt (that reminds me of Santa Monica as it has a big ferris wheel on it), a ticket stub, crappy, blurry photos from the concert, and some amazing memories….I just can’t wait to see them again.
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