After a 18 month hiatus, the rock band Death Cab for Cutie made its official return to the stage with the release of their new album “Asphalt Meadows.” With tour dates scheduled until March 2023, the band’s strong comeback shows that it can mature with their audience while maintaining their early nostalgic sound.
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down opened the show, with Thao Nguyen leading the band. Nguyen dawned a fluorescent orange sparkly jumpsuit, which matched the energy of her performance and vivid stage presence.
Nguyen, who grew up in Northern Virginia, gave a shout out to her hometown and family members in the audience supporting her: “I have two nephews here tonight. I have a few more years until I’m no longer cool so this is the moment to help them think I’m cool.”
During their song “Fool Forever,” Thao invited the audience to join in, initiating a call-and-response on top of Thao’s compelling vocals and guitar solo.
The new age folk rock sound of Thao was contrasted by the wistful, mellow magic of Death Cab for Cutie. The crowd was packed with fans from older generations who clearly have grown up with their music.
Before lead singer Ben Gibbard even entered the stage, the audience roared with screams and cheers. Death Cab For Cutie continued that energy in their first song “I Don’t Know How I Survive,” the first track off of “Asphalt Meadows.” The enthusiasm continued with their most popular song from the album, “Here to Forever,” with the audience screaming the lyrics and dancing along to this uplifting tune.
The lights and technical features added beautiful visuals that complemented the music. In their song “Northern Lights,” the stage exploded into rainbow bursts of light, a technicolor spectacle that elevated the energy of the crowd.
However, despite the lively energy from both the band and audience, the most memorable moment of the concert was when Gibbard entered the stage alone halfway through the set to play one of Death Cab For Cutie’s classics: “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”.
Sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar, Gibbard made fans fall in love with Death Cab For Cutie all over again, and they echoed his singing with every word of the song. At the end of the song, Gibbard added a reprise and stepped back from the mic, letting the audience sing the last chorus on their own.
Being a well seasoned band, Death Cab for Cutie has performed in the district many times. Gibbard joked with the crowd that he likes to visit at least one tourist attraction every time his band comes to D.C, and recounted his visit to the International Spy Museum.
“I enjoyed it immensely, but now I’m a little bit paranoid that everything is a camera or a weapon so I don’t think I’m going to sleep very well tonight,” He said.
The combination of nostalgic melodies and the enthusiastic energy from the crowd made for an unforgettable performance. Singing along to every word, the audience’s enthusiasm for each song is a testament to how Death Cab for Cutie and their fans have truly grown together.