Review: Death Cab for Cutie at Red Rocks, 8/23/11

Categories: Concert Reviews

Jon Solomon
Death Cab for Cutie last night at Red Rocks, with Frightened Rabbit
"There will be a couple of times during this set when yours truly will be sucking wind," Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard proclaimed early in his band's set. "Because as you know, this show is taking place on top of the moon. I love the moon. But it does take some adjusting to."

While Gibbard might have been a bit winded by the altitude, and even apologized to fans for the song "Long Division," which the band had just played, it didn't seem to get in the way of a first-rate set at Red Rocks, which was near-capacity last night. Opening with the chugging, bass-driven number "I Will Possess Your Heart," Gibbard and company followed that with a vibrant take on "Crooked Teeth" and a pair of songs from 2001's The Photo Album ("We Laugh Indoors" and "A Movie Script Ending"), which got the momentum going early on.

Jon Solomon

By the time Gibbard and company finished "Long Division," six songs into the set, you would never even have guessed that the altitude was affecting Gibbard at all. The band brought things down a bit during "Grapevine Fires," which Gibbard remarked was a song that takes place on the West Coast of the United States, "at sea level, where there's just a little more moisture in the air."

Jon Solomon

With a 24-song set that drew heavily from the band's last four albums, including nearly half of the excellent Codes and Keys, it was evident that the band is equally deft at motoring through exuberant rockers like "Company Calls" and more introspective cuts like "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," which proved to be one of the show's many highlights.

"We Looked Like Giants" was the tour de force of the night, with Gibbard opening the song on guitar and then switching to a drum kit that roadies set up early in the song. With Gibbard facing drummer Jason McGerr, the two absolutely killed it for a few minutes before Gibbard jumped back on guitar.

Jon Solomon

And pretty much anything the band threw out, the youthful Red Rocks crowd took in, singing along on a number of songs, like "Soul Meets Body," "Titles and Registration" and "The Sound of Settling," the last two of which Death Cab played during the encore. "Transatlanticism" was a superb way to close out the night, as the song kept building and gaining momentum, with Gibbard repeating the phrase "I need you so much closer."


Personal Bias: Although Death Cab has long outgrown mid-sized venues, the band somehow made the 9,500-seat amphitheatre feel quite intimate.
Random Detail: I could be wrong, but it sounded like Ben Gibbard dedicated "Home Is a Fire" to Ft. Collins-based band Candy Claws.
By The Way: Scotland's Frightened Rabbit opened the night with a thoroughly energetic and solid set.


Death Cab for Cutie
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Red Rocks - Morrison, CO

I Will Possess Your Heart
Crooked Teeth
We Laugh Indoors
A Movie Script Ending
Doors Unlocked and Open
Long Division
Grapevine Fires
Codes and Keys
What Sarah Said
I Will Follow You Into the Dark
Little Bribes
You Are A Tourist
The New Year
Company Calls
Soul Meets Body
Stay Young, Go Dancing - love song
We Looked Like Giants
Marching Bands of Manhattan


Home is a Fire
Title and Registration
The Sound of Settling

Location Info


Red Rocks Amphitheatre

18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, CO

Category: General

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Chris Walla was at their show in Austin for SXSW and has been a big fan ever since. They met up on tour last week in LA.


He definitely sounded out of breath in Grapevine Fires, having to take breaths in the extended notes (will be alright..., before we all burn..., etc.) But, he did it pretty gracefully, and it still sounded amazing. 

I especially liked how Jason McGerr had a solo or two during the set.

As expected, the energy during I Will Follow You Into the Dark was incredible. When everyone but Ben Gibbard left the stage and the roadies brought him the acoustic, the anticipation was palpable: everyone knew what was coming.

As already said, but worth noting again, finishing with Transatlanticism left me pumped even as we entered the shitstorm that is Red Rocks traffic....

Trevor Noel
Trevor Noel

He def. dedicated 'home is a fire' to candy claws. wonder what the connection is...


Deathcab members went to a Candy Claws show in SF (i think) when CC was on tour this month.

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