Long live rock, I need it every night

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dismemberment Plan Reunion Show - Saturday, April 28th at the Black Cat

STEREOGUM: How'd the reunion feel?

Travis Morrison: Great. Turns out we wrote some really great songs, and none of us stopped playing music, so we sounded better. Especially the second night of our shows, I was just feeling it like I never have.

I view band reunions the same way I view "Supergroups". You hope for them to be great but usually they're quite bad. Examples: The Stooges 2007 reunion. The reviews have been brutal. Then there was Zwan, perhaps the worst supergroup of all-time. They made the Damn Yankees look like the fucking Beatles. This is why I'm so pleased at what the Dismemberment Plan accomplished last weekend. The had the perfect reunion. Two nights, at their home club, in front of the biggest fans, all for a great cause.

Friday's show was great, but Saturday's was legendary. We jump up and down, sang each song, and danced the entire time. They played two encores, only stopping when they had ran out of songs to play. After the show we hung out front talking with a ton of different people. Everyone was blown away.

Going to the show w/ an old college roommate and talking with Eric before the show brought back a lot of memories. The whole night felt like an "event", a once in a decade type show.

I went upstairs right as the Plan was about to start. I found my friends in it the exact same spot I stood the previous night. As soon as The Plan launched into "Do The Standing Still", the dance party was on. I'd bet they chose that song to motivate people to do some serious rump shaking. If so, it worked. The whole night was one big Kool & The Gang song. The band was perfectly in synch with the crowd and the love for the Plan was obvious. The crowd sang each song. It whispered the chorus to "Time Bomb", yelled in unison during "What Do You Want Me To Say?", and absolutely exploded at the end of "You Are Invited". The sing-along peaked when the room erupted for the "How's Washington?!" line from "The Ice of Boston".

A few other highlights from the Saturday show:

- "Back and Forth" - Wow, this rocked. Everyone sang the chorus and waved their hands in the hands in air (like they just didn't care). I've seen them play this song many times, but Saturday's version was the best. I wish they had played it on Friday too.

- "Pay for the Piano" - In an interview with Stereogum Travis said some songs sounded even better after four years of not playing them. This is the perfect example. A real standout.

- "The City" - a fan favorite. Sometimes Travis' voice got lost because the crowd was singing so loud. That's saying something considering the sound system at the Black Cat.

- "Girl O'Clock" - some of their equipment was broken during the previous night's performance of “The Ice Of Boston”. This meant they couldn’t play two keyboards at the same time. No worries. Travis just plopped down on Eric's lap and they performed the song Santa-style.

- "Ice of Boston" - As soon as Travis started strumming the distinctive beginning of the song, the stage was flooded with eager dancers. As more and more people jumped onstage, one by one the guys didn't have room to play their instruments. First it was Travis, then Eric gave up, followed by Jason. That just left Joe (w/ help from Ben Gibbard) playing drums behind a mass of fans. It didn't matter as Travis and the crowd sang the rest of song together.

Why was the Saturday show so much better than the Friday show, which was an amazing show in itself? I'll give you seven reasons:

1. It seems the band needed Friday to really hit their stride on Saturday. Friday primed the pump.

2. There were more old-school, hardcore fans at the Saturday show. They knew every word to every song, especially the older stuff off of “The Dismemberment Plan is Terrified” and “!”.

3. Unlike Friday, there were no technical difficulties, which kept the whole night flowing (less banter to kill time while they fixed equipment).

4. I wasn't driving and I took full advantage of it. Mmmm, Bass beer is delicious. Fueled by said delicious beer, I busted out dance moves thought to have been retired years ago. At least, my wife had hoped they'd never to be seen again.

5. The night had a greater sense of urgency. People knew they may never have a another chance to see the Plan, so there was no holding back.

6. Watching my neighbor Jim get down was worth the price of admission. He was cracking me up all night long. He's also a wealth of Dismemberment Plan knowledge. Did you know that the song "Ellen and Ben" is actually about the secret love affair between Ellen DeGeneres and Ben Affleck? It's true.

7. Finally, The night was packed with nostalgia. I was hanging with a buddy who lived with me when the Dismemberment Plan played some of their first shows in our basement. It was fun to talk about the glory days (as The Boss would say).

This was the "perfect storm" concert for me. There were so many factor which would be impossible to recreate. That's why it's my favorite show of all time. It's not even close. Part of me hopes the Plan doesn't play anymore reunion shows. It really can't get any better than this (for me at least).

So, what have we learned. Band reunions are dicey affairs. Calls to "get the band back together!" are usually a bad, bad idea (I'm looking at you, Sting). The Plan knew when to call it quits and when to regroup. If only more groups followed their example.

Set List For Saturday Show:
Do The Standin’ Still
What Do You Want Me To Say?
Following Through
Face Of The Earth
The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich
Spider In The Snow
Time Bomb
The City
A Life Of Possibilities
Pay For The Piano
Girl O’Clock
You Are Invited
I Love A Magician
Back And Forth
Onward Fat Girl

The Ice Of Boston
Ellen And Ben
Ok Joke’s Over

The Other Side

1 comment:

Potsy said...

Since when is the sequel better than the "original?" I guess this was the case for the Plan's reunion. Man - I am not interested in hearing any more about how boss the 2nd show was in comparison to the first night. But I guess that's your job here, jumbo slice. Your review does a good job of taking me there, even though I wasn't. And isn't that what a review is supposed to do?

I must say that I was a bit worried for the Friday night show when we arrived to the Black Cat and there wasn't the slightest bit of pandemonium ready to erupt. I remember feeling a little uneasy with all the hype about the show while there didn't seem to be a problem with space. I also remarked that it felt a bit like buying a "hot stock" that had the potential to go bust in front of my very eyes. Since I am the most personally removed from the band members, I can be honest here. I thought for a second that there might be a very awkward moment when the room would be half empty.

Luckily this did not bear out. And the Friday show was well attended and had a great spirited crowd to bolster it.

The porno-cake was good too. I just hope I didn't catch anything from it.