Live Review, 5/8/12: Death Cab Grows Up with Magik*Magik Orchestra at the Fox

Categories: Last Night


It's no business of mine, of course, or at least it's not exclusively my business, which is just as hard to reconcile. I had an intimate one-way bond with this band 10 years ago, and the band kept reminding me of it at the Fox, not by recreating it but by referencing it. In a way, it would be easier to conclude that Death Cab for Cutie has nothing to say to me 10 years later -- which is obviously false, because as recently as last night they could still make me feel like a teenager with a lump in my throat -- than it is to admit that when they do make me feel that way it is genuine but it is in passing, because they and I both know there are other people in the room who want lumps in their throats too, and who have more to offer, in cultural capital or in actual capital, in return.

But then, growing up is about learning to share, among other things, about making peace with the idea that other people -- unexpected people, people in bow ties -- can have the same bond under other circumstances and for other reasons. It makes a bittersweet coda to a relationship founded on the bittersweet things in life, something Gibbard and company are still way better than most at expressing. Time will tell how I feel in another 10 years, when someone decides it's a great idea to give Youth Lagoon a nine-piece orchestra.


Critic's notebook

Personal bias: All of the above

Considerations: That perhaps by now I should have learned to read Magik*Magik Orchestra as a signifier of a certain level of adultness in a concert, since the last show I saw involving it had not only seats but programs; that Death Cab drummer Jason McGerr has, at least from many rows back, a total Steve Jobs look going on.

Shoutouts: To the guy who lightened the iPhones-in-the-air solemnity of "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," at the part where Gibbard sings "You and me / Have seen everything to see / From Bangkok to Calgary," by yelling "Calgary!!"; less enthusiastically to the people who shrieked in recognition at Gibbard's mention of the California sun in "Tiny Vessels," which is a terrible song to identify with, and which takes place in Los Angeles anyway.

Death Cab stan-only note: In retrospect, maybe the line "I was searching for some legal documents" was the beginning of the end for Gibbard's lyrical acumen.

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Location Info



Fox Theater - Oakland

1807 Telegraph, Oakland, CA

Category: Music

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