Photo by Jeremy C. Wilkins, oscphotography.blogspot.com
Coheed & Cambria
The Great Saltair
with Circa Survive, Torche
In support of their fifth proper album, Year of the Black Rainbow, Coheed & Cambria stopped in Utah for a show at The “Great,” Saltair, on a US tour that began in March and runs through the end of May.
For this run of dates C&C have brought along–in my opinion–a rather lackluster lineup. Torche, a three-piece metal band from Florida, opened the show with some decent crowd participation and interaction. Even though in the past they have pulled high scores on album reviews from music snobs Pitchfork, I wasn’t impressed. In fact, I couldn’t have been more bored during their sludge-ridden metal mayhem. Blah.
Next up was another snoozer for me: Circa Survive. I know there’s a CS army out there waiting to lynch me for saying that, but whatever. I’ve seen them once or twice in the past and fought sleep during their set. The majority of the crowd was really into them and I tried to be, but I just don’t think CS and I are meant to be friends. My one last hope for the night was that C&C would not let me down, that they would put on a mind-blowing, face-kicking, ear-bleeding show as usual.
During the set change in between CS and C&C, I walked up to the pit (the area in between the stage and the barrier that holds the crowd back), as it is so lovingly called, to prep myself for some photos. I watched as the techs did their instrument and sound checking and prepared the stage for the main event. And then, there it was: fog, spewing up from the stage floor. The techs scurried off the stage, the lights went black and the gigantic movie screen (set behind the stage), the width of the entire stage and almost as high as it was wide, became illuminated. Sound began to flood my ears. As I watched C&C’s logo transform on the movie screen, over and over again, the music became subtly more intense, until, at last, C&C took the stage to a frenzied crowd of devoted followers.
In all honesty, I don’t recall the opening song. I was caught up in the adrenaline rush of it all and was busy snapping my first set of photographs. The second song I remember—It happened to be my favorite track of their new record, “Here We Are Juggernaut.” And boy, was it the most beautiful and fulfilling blast to my ear drums I’ve experienced in a long, long time—not to mention the heart-pounding visuals of the band to go along with it.
The show continued on in the same fashion–epic, that is–for nearly two full hours. Talk about giving fans the most bang for their buck. C&C would hit it hard, but also weren’t afraid to slow it down, giving Mr. Claudio Sanchez a chance to pull back his famous hair, though noticeably shorter than usual, and breathe a bit. And the slow songs were every bit as well executed as the rest. Sanchez and Co. didn’t have much to say to the crowd through the night, but when Sanchez said the most, it was a heartfelt and sincere thank you to the fans–not just brown-nosing the crowd the way so many bands do.
While running through many new tracks, C&C still played many of the classics and they knew just when to stop singing and let the us, the fans, do what we do best at shows–sing our guts out. During the eight minute-plus “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3,” the crowd, with bits of guidance, projected the chorus and anthemic shouts of the song back to the band. The energy was dripping from the ceiling. Well, it could have been water leaking in from the heavy rain beating down outside too. Either way, it was the unifying moment and climax of the show. And then, just as quickly as they had stormed the stage, C&C said, “Thank you,” and exited.
An encore? Oh, but of course. And thankfully–unlike some bands that feel they are the same stature of numerous rock ‘n’ roll legends–C&C returned to the stage without much delay and played an equally stimulating encore set. How they can play as hard as they do, for as long as they do is beyond my comprehension. The bottom line though, is that I don’t need to understand how it is done. All I care about is the fact that they do it, and they do it tour after tour after tour without relenting.