Death Cab For Cutie Review @ Sydney Opera House

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Death Cab For Cutie Death Cab For Cutie Image © Elliot Lee Hazel

The emo kids have all grown up.


Gone is the thick streaky eyeliner, the black t-shirts and the combat boots and in their place is an army of Gen Y in respectable work attire who have sacrificed their Monday night (11 March) to relive their teenage years with the emo-gods that are Death Cab For Cutie.

What a wonderful start to the week.

There's no support in sight, but lead singer Ben Gibbard sends a quick "thank you" to them anyway joking (probably not joking) that "it was iPhone on shuffle" before shutting up and getting on with the show.

They've a lot to get through. Twenty-four songs to be exact. They span the band's entire back catalogue from 'Pictures In An Exhibition' off 1997's 'You Can Play These Songs With Chords' to 'When We Drive', 'Autumn Love', 'I Dreamt We Spoke Again' and 'Summer Years' off 2018's 'Thank You For Today'.

The start is slow, arguably a warm up and introduction to their new stuff with two songs from 'Thank You For Today' leading the charge before Gibbard finally addresses the crowd with a hello and an open invitation to get up and dance. One punter in the stalls tries, then immediately sits, upon realising he's on his own in this.

And then 'The Ghosts of Beverley Drive' arrives, the lights on stage pulsate electric and the audience starts to come alive. Patches of revellers take to their feet but it's not until 'Title And Registration' when the party really gets started. Maracas are played, hands are clapped and a girl in the fourth row stands up to whip her hair to the beat.


The original trio play it cool all night long. Decked from top to toe in black, Gibbard spends most of his time shuffling to the music at the mic and occasionally gigging with drummer Jason McGerr while bassist Nick Harmer and newcomer Dave Depper bop in time.

There's some piano action for 'What Sarah Said' and '60 & Punk' before the band ramp up to powerhouse 'I Will Possess Your Heart'. It's that big musical number that we've been itching to get an earful of, but is only a snapshot of what 'We Looked Like Giants' offers with its crashing chords and epic instrumental. It tails off into 'Soul Meets Body' and as the boys raise their guitars to end the set the fans stand in ovation.

It's not over. It's never over. There are too many early noughties tear-jerkers to leave it here. Death Cab doesn't disappoint – though they do make us wait a heart-breaking amount of time.

Gibbard returns to the stage lonesome in the spotlight to smear our mascara eyes out with 'I Will Follow You Into The Dark'. We're still on our feet and we're refusing to leave until the last note of 'Transatlanticism' has been played.

The crowd is hesitant to sing along, happy to soak it all up. But as emotion fills the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House, the hush transforms into an army of hopeless teen romantics, their hearts swelling till they burst as they sound out every single word.

We need you so much closer, Death Cab. Return soon.

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