The Postal Service @ Bank of America Pavilion 6.12.13
by Shea Geyer (Pharmacy), published June 19th 2013
Do I get tickets or not? That was the battle going on in my head when I first found out that The Postal Service were going on tour for the 10th anniversary of their one and only album, Give Up. I initially decided that I wasn’t going to go, but a friend persuaded me five days before the show to get tickets. I mean, this was probably going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so why should I pass this moment up?
I arrived in the middle of Mates of State’s opening set, which was energetic and a definitely a crowd pleaser. There was an abundance of empty seats throughout Mates of State’s set, but by the time The Postal Service took the stage, the venue was packed. The audience erupted into exuberant cheers and whistles as Ben Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello, Jenny Lewis and touring member Laura Burhenn took their places on stage and kicked off the night with the lyrically depressing, yet beautiful, ”The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.” Lewis’ and Burhenn’s synchronized vocals when they sang the lyrics “where I am” complemented each other so perfectly that I was on the verge of tears.
While Tamborello and Burhenn played from their encompassing podiums, Gibbard and Lewis utilized the entire stage playing their respective instruments, dancing and singing to each other. The chemistry between Gibbard and Lewis on stage is what made the live performance truly special. “Nothing Better” featured Gibbard dancing across the stage to Lewis and singing directly to her, acting out the scene depicted in the lyrics. And Lewis’ response to Gibbard was spectacular; I could feel the electrifying emotion radiating throughout the venue when she snapped “I feel I must interject here, you’re getting carried away.” Lewis’ natural acting shouldn’t come as a surprise though, as she started off in the acting business (anyone remember Troop Beverly Hills?) before pursuing her music endeavors.
The Postal Service played every song from Give Up, including the reissue bonus tracks “A Tattered Line of String” and “Turn Around,” along with some b-sides and covers. “Recycled Air” showcased Tamborello’s singing at the end, which was aided by severe voice distortion and turned the song into an over-the-top joke of sorts. Gibbard’s amazing drumming skills were brought to light in “We Will Become Silhouettes” and “Clark Gable,” but nothing could prepare us for the very moody “This Place is a Prison.” The lightshow took a somber tone, illuminating the stage in all red until Gibbard took to the drums and bursts of strobe lights flashed in time to his beating of the drums. Lewis also took her turn at drumming during the cover of Beat Happening’s “Our Secret.”
Surprisingly, the crowd around me didn’t go nuts when “Such Great Heights” was played, even when Gibbard was jamming out on his guitar or attacking the snare drum at the end. “Natural Anthem” followed, which got the crowd on their toes a bit more, especially when Lewis started playing her guitar with her teeth during the very intense intro. The Postal Service bid us ado afterwards, but the crowd demanded more. For their encore, the band played a cover of “The Dream of Evan and Chan,” a song from Tamborello’s project Dntel, which featured Gibbard and actually kicked off the collaboration for The Postal Service side project. They officially ended the night with “Brand New Colony,” declaring that they “have to go because we have no more songs!” The song involved the entire audience with everyone singing “everything will change” in harmony, and at its conclusion, the four members stood together and bowed to the fans that have embraced their masterpiece, Give Up, since its release ten years ago.