I don't believe I have ever gone to such great lengths to see a band. First, I was unable to get tickets to either NYC show because they sold out before I could blink. I found a good deal on a Buy It Now eBay auction for 2 tickets to the Webster Hall show and was beyond satisfied with that.
Fast forward to the day of the show. The entire eastern seaboard is experiencing severe winter weather for the first time this entire winter. Snow, freezing rain, ice, sleet, high winds, below freezing temperatures....all of which offer ideal driving conditions for a 150 mile drive to New York City....especially when half of that trip will be traveled in the middle of the night.
And you ask why? How could this band Silverchair offer an experience worth braving all of this?
On May 20, 2003 I was one of the few lucky people in this country to see Silverchair play one of only 4 shows in the US....their first in nearly 4 years....and their last for nearly 4 years. It was one of the most stunning, jaw dropping and eclectic sets I have ever seen. The band played songs from every album but their debut. The rocked hard, softened it with Daniel playing songs on the keyboard, entertained us with antics of all sorts. Daniel was all about theatrics at the time. From his attire, to the way he danced around the stage in circles and went crazy. I even remember him yelling out a drink order to the back bar, and having the crowd pass the drink all the way to the front. He said we dare not spill a drop. We didn't.
Last night I witnessed the return of Silverchair to the great city of New York. Webster Hall, February 13, 2007. The band has changed a lot since they last played this city. Four years older, and much more straight forward and professional in their delivery. This time, they were strictly business. Daniel kept his antics to a minimum, but when he did take on the role of the front man you could see Ben and Chris exchange smiles with each other. Daniel was clean cut, dressed in a full suit, which of course with Daniel being Daniel, the suit disappeared throughout the show, one layer at a time. It's always refreshing to see that Daniel still plays the same guitars at every show. It really preserves that lasting impression and familiarity when you see them live. Chris also played many of the same bass guitars, and Ben was rocking on the same drum kit that he used at the Bowery in 2003.
The songs were the same, but different. In 2003, the band tried hard to make every one of their old songs fit into the Diorama mold. They had no choice really. The songs on Diorama were massive, they were whimsical and rocked all at the same time. In 2003 they adjusted many of the old songs to fit right alongside the new ones. They added longer and cleaner guitar solos to songs such as Ana's Song (Open Fire), and made songs like Anthem For The Year 2000 even larger than life.
Last night they just put it out there. They played the songs straight through, altered them just a bit, whether it was Daniel singing in a different key from time to time, or drifting into different guitar solos. I felt like it was truly a live performance. Just a band being themselves. Not as rehearsed sounding as the Diorama tour. This I'm sure was due to the very straight forward rocking sound of the new songs from the upcoming release Young Modern. The songs sounded great live and I can't wait to hear the recorded versions. It's nearly impossible to follow up an album like Diorama and make everybody happy, but I know that if anyone can do it, its Silverchair.
The show completely lacked intimacy. A solo performance from Daniel on the keyboard, sweeping us away with After All These Years or Miss You Love or Asylum, simply never came. I was however pleased that they didn't even attempt to touch anything from Frogstomp. As much as I still love those songs, there really are just so many more songs they have recorded since then that I would rather hear. It was also difficult to realize that some of the older staple songs in the bands live set list have been cut to make way for the new songs. Paint Pastel Princess, Black Tangled Heart, Anthem, and many others, mostly from Neon Ballroom went missing.
All in all, the show was brilliant. If Silverchair never come to Philadelphia again, and I have to drive to NY, NY every 4 years to see them, then I am more than willing to make that commitment.
Without You / Emotion Sickness / Greatest View / World Upon Your Shoulders / Across the Night / Young Modern / Ana's Song / Straight Lines / Tuna In The Brine / Luv Your Life / The Door / Don't Wanna Be The One / Mindreader / Freak
If You Keep Losing Sleep / Lever