Walking up to Verizon Wireless Theater last night, we ran into a crowd of cigarette-puffing couples and soccer moms with tattoos waiting in line to see Death Cab For Cutie. The crowd proceeded to form lines to grab $10 beers and pile into the balcony and general admission standing area. At exactly 9 p.m. the red stage lights flickered and Death Cab opened with the album version of "I Will Posses Your Heart."
The audience in the balcony area gave a soft cheer but stayed put in their seats as the band took the stage. The onlookers in the general admission barely budged the entire eight minutes and thirty seconds of "I Will Posses Your Heart." Lead vocalist Ben Gibbard sat behind a keyboard in a red plaid shirt as he belted out the lyrics.
About four songs later and twenty minutes into the set, Gibbard finally addressed the arena saying, "What's going on Houston, we're Death Cab For Cutie and it feels good to be back here."
Death Cab then launched into few songs from the band's latest album Codes and Keys, including "Doors Unlocked." The audience still seemed to be half sleeping with the exception of one guy in a tank top who was making his very own version of Michael Jackson moves. There was definitely enough room in the standing area for anyone to put on a one-man dance show.
Even Gibbard observed how dull the crowd was. "Come on Houston I know it's Monday, it is Monday right?" he said. "We've been touring for the last month so everyday feels like Friday to me."
The band woke up the audience up a bit with a few hands claps during "Grapevine Fires" before Gibbard was left alone on stage for his acoustic performance of "Follow You Into The Dark." The stage lights went out except for one spotlight shining on Gibbbard. The audience seemed to be in an hypnotic trance. "Every time I do this song and they leave the stage, I always think that maybe they won't come back and I'll have to finish the show by myself," Gibbard joked.
The band returned with the hit "The New Year" and the crowd finally came alive. Couples were making out, one woman danced like a ballerina and a guy started to pop lock. Gibbard's hair was dripping with sweat an hour into the show and he mentioned the lack of air conditioning. "It's way too hot in here. I'm from Seattle and I love it below 65 at all times," he said with a nervous chuckle.
About thirty people left at the end of the set around 10:40 p.m, but cheers erupted moments later when the band emerged for its encore with "Stay Young, Go Dancing" from Codes and Keys.
Just before "Transatlanticism," the final song of the night, Gibbard asked, "Can you guys help us settle a bet? Are there still shows happening at Numbers?" The crowd roared and Gibbard smiled as if he won.