Tuesday, October 28, 2008

They Have Awakened My Soul

    On Monday, October 27th at 9:30pm I had an out-of-body experience. I've been to a few excellent concerts in my life, but none have unraveled my emotions or liberated such fire from the depths of my belly to the center of my heart, quite like Death Cab for Cutie did last night.

    The first few songs they played were (surprisingly) from older albums. I was a bit worried that they would play most songs from their recent album, Narrow Stairs. Lucky for me, since I am a seasoned Death Cab fan, they chose a handful of older songs that could have been hand-picked by Yours Truly. (It's Fate!) In fact, the first surreal moment was when they played "Your Heart is An Empty Room", which is pretty much my Go-To song whenever I power up the Ipod. This song brought me comfort and Ben Gibbard's lyrics brought a sense of clarity and simplicity to my life:

    The flames and smoke climbed out of every window
    And disappeared with everything that you held dear
    But you shed not a single tear
    For the things that you didn’t need
    ‘cause you knew you were finally free

    These 5 lines of lyrics that I've listened to over and over are finally making their way to my tiny brain yelling, "JAIME! DO YOU REALLY NEED ALL OF THOSE SHOES?" Material possessions are fleeting! And immediately I get it! Thank you Ben Gibbard for setting me straight and forcing me think about life in a new way. Ever thought a concert could change your way of thinking? I know it all sounds sorta lame, but it really hit me.

    Anyway, the second surreal moment was when they started playing "We Laugh Indoors". Most of the audience probably hadn't even heard this song before last night, but when Steve and I first started dating, I locked him in my cottage and forced him to listen to Death Cab all day and all night and eventually brainwashed him into claiming a favorite. He calls it "Gwenevere", but regardless of the name, it is an amazing song with that build-up (you know, where it starts out slow and steady and then creeps up on you, and before you know it, you're jumping on the bed, shaking your ass, and singing at the top of your lungs?). This song has the power to draw me into its depths to escape my troubled thoughts.

    So, obviously, 15 minutes into the concert and I'm like a hyper teenager screeching for more! MORE!!! GIVE ME MORE DEATH CAB!!! Oh, and did they! Not only was the sheer power of each and every beat making it's way to my inner core, but the lyrics were making my mind dance and the movement on stage was causing my eyes to bulge with excitement! Chris Walla, a guitarist for Death Cab, is an insane dancer. He has these skinny legs that are like 10 feet long, and long shaggy hair that hangs straight so when he dances, his hair sorta vibrates up and down and side to side to the beat of the music. But, the best part about his performance is his crazy feet. I tried finding a video clip of his moves, but you'll just have to see it for yourself. You won't be disappointed. Next time I'm on the dance floor, look for the girl with the nutso feet.
    There were two more moments during the show that really moved me. As fate would have it, their last song was "Marching Bands of Manhattan". This is my ALL TIME FAVORITE Death Cab song so when I heard it begin my heart raced and I gave Steve this look like, "are you fucking kidding me?!" This song brought me to tears. But I didn't scream and holler. I just sat there silently singing along. Thinking of how simply wonderful this music is and how the song is more than just words and instruments.

    If I could open my arms
    and span the length of the aisle of Manhattan
    I'd bring it to where you are
    Making a lake of the East River and Hudson
    If I could open my mouth
    Wide enough for a marching band to march out
    They would make your name sing
    And bend through alleys and bounce off of the buildings

    I wish we could open our eyes
    To see in all directions at the same time
    Oh what a beautiful view
    If you were never aware of what was around you
    And it is true what you say
    I live like a hermit in my own head
    But when the sun shines again
    I'll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in

    Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
    Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
    But while you debate half empty or half full
    It slowly rises
    Your love is gonna drown

    After much stomping, yelling, and squealing, they ended the show with a triple-song Encore, finishing off with "Transatlanticism" - the very song that got me hooked on these guys. I remember driving up Highway 1 for the very first time. I was by myself, listening to this song on repeat. If there is one song to download after reading this, it has to be Transatlanticism. Its poetic grace and soft notes build-up to a powerful climax that will leave you intoxicated and breathless. This is exactly how I felt during that drive on Highway 1, rounding the cliffs overlooking the ocean, teasing you at every turn. The perfect soundtrack for that drive. Monday night brought me back to that colorful place. Now, THIS is love.

    Set List (and videos!):

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