It seemed that it was one of those weekends where everybody you know was at a gig in the area -- with The Postal Service hitting two nights at Barclays and the Northside Festival happening around BK. In the big picture, everybody wins.
The Postal Service reforming for some big time gigs and festival appearances was a pleasant surprise when it was announced. At first, people thought it would mean a long rumored follow-up to Give Up, except me who saw that it was the 10th Anniversary of the album. It gives the respected parties a good excuse to play arenas, promote the remastered CD and vinyl and cash in on ten years of built-up popularity.
After seeing Friday's show up close on the floor, I'm glad that The Postal Service is/was a one shot deal because the gig, like the album, was perfect. It's a tribute to the emotional tug that the album still has today and the height of Ben Gibbard's songwriting. I look at the Postal Service as a triumph of originally and songwriting. Gibbard and Tamborello captured lightning in a bottle during the elaborate process of making the album, and to recreate that would be difficult. They ushered in a new era of lo-fi beats with heartfelt themes. So I'm good with the "super group" not making a follow-up. Everybody is doing fine with their day jobs.
- The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
- We Will Become Silhouettes
- Sleeping In
- Turn Around
- Nothing Better
- Recycled Air
- Be Still My Heart
- Clark Gable
- Our Secret (Beat Happening cover)
- This Place Is a Prison
- There's Never Enough Time
- A Tattered Line of String
- Such Great Heights
- Natural Anthem
- Encore: (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (Dntel cover)
- Brand New Colony
Since the shows were announced, when I was mentioned to people that I was going, people would question if they could fill an arena. As far as I know, the first show sold out quickly. The album has only grown in popularity since 2003. What I wondered is if The Postal Service music is arena worthy. I got about two-three people deep in the front, so it felt like an intimate gig where I could check out Jenny Lewis's smooth moves and Gibbard's attempt at being an arena rock star. The new slim, form-fitting black dress shirt wearing, post-Zooey Deschanel B.G. is a lady killer. When he and J.Lew would sway together or sing looking at each other, I said to myself, "That's a long way from the doughy, glasses and plaid-shirt wearing Ben of yore."
Backing up the superstars was Jimmy Tamborello providing the beats and friend of this space Laura Burhenn of the Mynabirds on backing vocals and keyboards. With the massive sound output, I loved that feeling where your body is shaking from the thumping beats. We Will Become Silhouettes is my favorite from the album. The music break towards the end is one favorite passages in pop music. It's the sound of pure enthusiasm. During the show, it's the point where everybody should be loosing control. People were around going nuts around me. My reports from friends in other parts of the arena ... not so much.
This show just wouldn't have been the same if I was stuck in the nosebleeds or in the back of the arena. Any show is like that. It's why I limit my arena shows to one or two a year. When I saw My Morning Jacket last year at MSG in the cheap seats, I felt like more of an observer than a part of the show. When you're up close, you can see expressions and feel every pulse. The downside is every jerk off has to take 100 photos or video and douchebags want to push their way in front of you.
So, yeah, this seems like a one-time only thing. As Ben said, "Let this be a lesson to you. Start a band, make an album, and don't do anything for 10 years, then you can play the Barclays."
Speaking of which, first time at the new Brooklyn arena. First off, what the fuck is up with making people sit on the floor in General Admission before Mates of State started. The security guard was telling me that the rule is you have to sit on the floor before the first band starts. I thought he was joking with me, but they really do make sit. What are we in kindergarten? What purpose does that serve? What if I was on crutches? I call bullshit on that.
BTW, good to see Mates of States, albeit they got to play to an empty arena in the dark.
I'm not an expert on architecture or design, but the outside of the venue with the curved lines looks pleasing. Inside is another story, I walked around the whole place and you can't tell what section you're in because everything is grey, industrial and uniform. It lacks personality. Would it kill anybody to put some color into this place? The food offering had all the BK popular food joints old (Junior's, L&B Spumoni Gardens) and new (Fatty Cue, Elbow Room, Calexico), so you have plenty to choose from to overspend. It's better than the aging MSG.