Ever get that feeling of weightless calm when you lie on your back in the swimming pool? Now put yourself in that situation and that is exactly how it feels like to be in a Death Cab For Cutie (DCFC) concert. The somber density that you feel welling up at the beginning of A Lack of Colour to the absolute soaring of heartbeats when Ben Gibbard took to the drums in a very special outro to We Look Like Giants. Finally though, the masterpiece that is Transatlanticsm reels you in slowly into a thunderous rude (but much needed) awakening where you will find that all along you have planted your feet solidly in the reality that is the wet grounds of Fort Gate at Fort Canning Park.
Starting promptly without an opening band, it was evident from the beginning that the outdoor atmosphere and humidity (code name: Sticky Heat) was hard to ignore. Feeding hungrily on the energy of the crowd to make up for the long journey that the band have set out touring since last year’s release of Codes and Keys, it was a joy to watch an almost jovial Gibbard on stage. At the last remaining minute of Long Division he even put his guitar down and attempted to untangle his mic with both hands, standing at the edge, closer to his adoring fans. It could possibly be a cover up for a technical glitch on his guitar, but the crowd clearly did not care.
Speaking of glitches, the entire gig clearly was not glitch-free. The audio proved to be a little muffled up, not being able to hear each distinct instrument on its own. That could be due to the audacious sing-along garnered from the crowd though. Even the ever fabulous Chris Walla made a miniscule mistake during You Are A Tourist. However, the most prominent glitch came after Grapevine Fires when Gibbard was suddenly – and awkwardly, may I add – required to converse with the crowd while the technicians frantically attempted to solve the problem. Not with much success though I must say. Gibbard’s banter included how he didn’t want to do shameless promotion for his band and how bad airline food was. Let’s just say we shall enjoy his story telling skills in the form of stunning lyrics and songs.
Putting on a solid show with Tiny Vessels in the mix, almost all the opening riffs in the 23 songs set were dance-inducing. DCFC’s welcome back to Singapore was very much well received, with a 5500-strong crowd that night. It was clear that in three years, change was inevitable for everyone in the crowd, including the band members. One thing remained familiar though – it was the fact that everyone needed a night like this to master the art of floating and have the weight on their shoulders dissipate even if it was only for a short two hours. A collective sigh from the crowd could be heard when Gibbard bid goodnight to the crowd as we all sunk back to reality.