It rained all day but let up just as we left for the concert. By the time we got settled at Thompson’s Point, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
It might have been the bad weather that kept fans away for the opening act. Poor Jenny Lewis hit the stage right on time and played to a crowd only about a dozen rows deep. Good for us though as we easily made our way front and center.
From such a close vantage point you get to see the band dynamic: the way the bass player grins, the way the lead guitarist plays with his eyes closed. Lewis was resplendent in pink sequins, really camping it up in a mermaid style floor-length dress. For an opening act, Lewis and band played a lengthy set, worthy of her status, as she is nearly as popular as Death Cab.
Not only was it nice to be able to see both these acts on the same bill, but also they have both released decent albums in recent months. About half the set from Lewis and her band came from her new album
On the Line, the highlight being the mid-tempo opener “Heads Gonna Roll” which showcases her story-telling ability as well as her talent for the sing-along chorus. Maybe she should have saved that one for her closer after she had warmed up the crowd and the crowd had found her.
Death Cab played plenty of songs from their latest Thank You for Today. A highlight was “60 & Punk,” a lament to a former rock idol in the ballad style singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard does so well. “There’s nothing elegant about being a drunk,” Gibbard sang, eschewing an instrument and taking center stage with just a microphone for the only time all night. “There’s nothing righteous being 60 and punk.”
Death Cab’s set was long and generous, pulling from as far back as 2001’s Photo Album. During the encore Gibbard even chose a song from his long ago side project Postal Service and invited Jenny Lewis back on stage to reprise “Nothing Better,” prompting raised eyebrows and questioning looks from myself and my concert mates, as we all had to admit we didn’t remember that the two had ever played in a band together.
By encore time the sun had set on the Fore River and the twilight had faded. It felt especially fitting then for Gibbard to pull out the acoustic guitar for a quiet version of what is probably his most elegantly written song, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.” Gibbard must have been only in his twenties when he wrote this meditation on aging, death, religion and devotion, and I imagine even he is surprised that the voice of such an old soul emerged in the song. I was not the only one moved by the experience of seeing him perform this live as the whole crowd reverently sang along, promising to our own someone that “when your soul embarks/I will follow you into the dark.”