Coheed and Cambria, Thank You Scientist House of Blues September 17, 2014
Concerts are rarely a communal experience, even though they should be.
The reality is that we all get our tickets for different reasons; someone's favorite band may just be "those guys who have that one song" to someone else. Some people really love the new album and some people really miss the band they used to be. Some people go to the show because they would hate to miss it and others because they'd hate to not be seen at it.
Different people, different agendas, all sharing the same space. And this lack of community is often what makes shows a bummer. It's what leads to rampant talking until the band plays "the song" or people shouting out random bullshit to get themselves over.
That's why when a crowd is great, it's something to cherish. That's when the real magic happens. A band can be great, but if the room sucks, the show automatically has a ceiling it can't get past.
The point is, Coheed and Cambria have some great fans, and Wednesday night everyone was on the same page about why they were at House of Blues, which made the whole thing damn near magical.
The truth about this new wave of album tours is that most albums don't need to be played front to back live, no matter how much people may like them or how influential they are perceived to be. They're not conceived to be played front to back, and while the songs may be good in the order they're in on wax, that doesn't necessarily translate to a satisfying show.
Plus, other than being lumped together at a specific moment in time, the songs don't really have anything other than a superficial connection to each other.
Now, while all of that may be true most of the time, Coheed and Cambria are not your everyday band. Claudio Sanchez has always dreamed bigger than most front men. All of their albums are concept records, massive sci-fi stories set in a shared universe. From the very beginning they're designed to flow from one song to the next, to advance a plot, to build to a climax.
That makes them uniquely suited to be performed live, because there's an actual reason for the songs to follow one another.
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In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 is arguably their masterpiece and arguably their most-loved work. If nothing else, the crowd that put down their money to see the show were still completely enamored with it, 11 years since it was first released. They knew every word, every harmony, everything last bit that they could vocalize from front to back.
And they weren't afraid to show it either. This tour must be great for Claudio's voice, because a lot of the time the crowd is singing so loud he doesn't have to sing anything at all. And he knows that, which is why he and the rest of the band pick certain moments to highlight, where everything stops for a moment and the crowd can give their full-throated support to a line.
You get the feeling some of these folks had been counting down the days until they could scream out "Man your own jackhammers!" as loud as they could.
It's the kind of thing you imagine that every band dreams of: a crowd full of paying customers who love every single last thing you're performing and want to scream at the top of their lungs as much as they can. That's why it's hard to try and fault a band for wanting to do a tour like this: who among us wouldn't want that type of adoration for our art?
Coheed and Cambria are really one of the few bands that could do an album tour and not look like washed-up cynics. These albums have always been built to take an audience on a specific journey, be it by headphone, car or live concert experience.
There will always be bands looking for a last chance grasp at the spotlight for trotting out their records from better days for better pay days. These tours are a proven commodity and are most likely here to stay.
It's just a shame they can't all be like this was, because for a night at least the band and the crowd were all on the same page, all had the same agenda, and there are few things in this life better than that.
So, How Was the Opener?Thank you Scientist, all seven members strong, put on a somewhat redundant but ultimately enjoyable set. It's not that their songs are bad, it's just they all sounded a bit too similar, like one 30-minute song that happened to have a couple of extended pauses in the middle. Still, credit to them for doing their thing, no matter how weird it looks at first; rock music needs more violin solos anyway.
Personal Bias: In Keeping Secrets is somewhere in my Top 30 records of all time.
The Crowd: Sold out and very loud. Had some trouble hitting the high notes.
Overheard In the Crowd: "So are we going to talk about the dude by the elevator that looks like a slug?"
Random Notebook Dump: Shout out to you, Mr. Security Guard, for throwing down your best game during the show. I'm not sure if you got any numbers, but I see you working.
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