Death Cab for Cutie

Last night Bob took me to see Death Cab for Cutie featuring Magik*Magik Orchestra. It was an early birthday gift. We also went out for sushi. Let me tell you all about it.

To begin with, Bob bought a pair of tickets in the second row of the balcony, then realized he could get tickets in the first row of the balcony. So he bought a second pair of tickets, with the intention to turn around and put the other tickets on Stubhub. We both lost track of time, and with a week to go to the concert, we hadn’t yet posted or sold the extra tickets. And because we had physical tickets and not PDFs, we couldn’t post them on Stubhub (I don’t fully understand the thinking behind that). So we tried eBay. No luck. Finally, we decided to try people we actually knew, even though the notice was so short. We also realized that karma was making it clear that it would be best to just give the tickets away. After harassing a lot of people, we finally were able to give them to a friend of ours who lives in Buffalo. We got in touch with him about 20 minutes before the first act (Low) went on. What a sport! He made it to Kleinhans before the main show began. Our seats were one off the aisle and his seats were a section away. When we went to sit down, the girl who was seated in the seat on the aisle had her friend sitting next to her (in Bob’s seat) – they hadn’t been able to get seats together. We traded our friend’s two tickets (he was only using one) for her ticket, so she and her friend were able to sit together and our friend was able to sit with us. It was a lot of happy accidents.

But back to the beginning.

We went to eat at Kuni’s and positively stuffed ourselves silly on excellent sushi. I was lucky enough to sit across from this guy.

My best guy

Most of the people in the restaurant went to the show, too. Our waitress was disappointed she had to work and couldn’t go. There was a happy, convivial vibe. And what terrific sushi! We began with smoked salmon sashimi with cucumber, edamame and miso soup. Then got seven (yes, seven) sushi rolls. Tuna, spicy tuna, eel and cucumber (x2), California, avocado, and smoked salmon (reprising our appetizer). We get good sushi so rarely, I think we would have happily stayed there all night sampling the delicate rolls.

Fortunately, we did go to the show. We briefly caught the opening act, Low. From Duluth. They had exactly the right sound to open, it seemed to me from what we heard. We went up to the balcony and made ourselves comfortable, met our friend, switched around some seats, and settled in for what turned out to be an unbelievable show.

The ensemble that made up Magik*Magic Orchestra (see below for more info) seemed to be all violins and two cellos – and I think there were 8 people altogether, not including the conductor. The orchestra was perched up on a small platform, like what a drum kit might be placed on (and indeed, like what the drum kit WAS on), and because these were clearly all talented performers who felt their music, they resembled a sea anemone – in the best possible way. Each performer swayed as he or she was wont (and needed to, with all that bowing going on), and with such a small base, they all seemed like one organic, cohesive whole. It was lovely to watch.

The integration of band and orchestra was very well done. Strings right where they were needed, and never awkwardly inserted where there was no need. The piano also featured, as should come as no surprise to fans of Death Cab.

I can’t rave enough about the show. Ben Gibbard started the show with “Passenger Seat” on the piano, and after that the orchestra and rest of the band bloomed into being the show raced along. The songs I remember playing include “Little Fury Bugs,” “Death of an Interior Decorator,” “Tiny Vessels,” “What Sarah Said,” “Transatlanticism,” “Title and Registration,” “Soul Meets Body,” “Your Heart is an Empty Room,” “Different Names for the Same Thing,” “I Will Follow You into the Dark,” “A Movie Script Ending,” “Cath…,” “Grapevine Fires,” “No Sunlight,” “Codes and Keys,” “You are a Tourist,” “Underneath the Sycamore,” and “Stay Young, Go Dancing.” But there was more! And an R.E.M. cover, to whom they attributed their entire existence.

Besides the show being utterly wonderful, I noticed that Ben Gibbard would sway to the music in time, while keeping his feet on the floor but slightly apart. My 6 month old daughter does this exact same move. We call it lap surfing, because she’s standing on our laps (with us holding her hips) when she does it. First one knee sort of gives out, and she hurriedly straightens it, then the other knee goes, and so on, back and forth. Perhaps she is destined for indie rock greatness.

More about Death Cab for Cutie on their site:

From Magik*Magic’s site:


More about Magik*Magik Orchestera:

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