The rains fell early, but wet clothes and mud-soaked shoes were not enough to dampen enthusiasm for Death Cab for Cutie on Wednesday night.
Thousands of people gathered in Riverfront Park, a mix of generations, some sporting sleeve tattoos and flower crowns, others wearing button-downs and slacks. Some came from out of town, but many walked to the concert from their houses and apartments in Harrisburg. In any case, everyone was itching to see the band–and, like magic, the skies cleared up just in time.
“Death Cab for Cutie is one of the top six alternative bands of all time. They’re up there with U2, Coldplay and a bunch of others,” said Frank Schofield, director of live entertainment and media services for Harrisburg University, which organized the concert. “We’re just happy they came in to be part of this moment for us.”
Following well-received opener Bad Bad Hats and without an introduction (because, do they really need one?), the Grammy-nominated band fell into their song, “I Dreamt We Spoke Again.” Many of their songs from the night were from their latest album, “Thank You for Today.” The band’s unwavering energy kept the audience up and moving for almost two hours, even through some of their more mellow tunes.
Lead singer Benjamin Gibbard moved up, down and around the stage, often smiling and singing with his bandmates. Keyboardist Zac Rae, sporting a Claude Monet-esque beard, stood through some songs, leading the audience on clapping to the beat. For some songs, the band extended their instruments forward, prompting cheers from the crowd.
Their ending song, “We Look Like Giants,” featured a red, purple and blue light show flashing all over the crowd and the stage. Gibbard held his guitar in the air singing the ending lyrics, “And I held you closer…”
But the audience wasn’t done yet. Shouts of “encore,” and “one more song,” got the band back on stage. They played three more songs, including a solo rendition of “I’ll Follow You Into The Dark,” from Gibbard.
“I love that they came to Harrisburg because it’s way more convenient and the fact that it’s an outdoor concert is way more fun,” said concertgoer Grace Moe. “Rain or shine, it’s still a lot of fun to hang out and have a good time.”
The Death Cab for Cutie show is a part of Harrisburg University’s Concert Series. The university previously hosted artists such as Kurt Vile, The Record Company and Joan Osborne. Next up is Chris Pureka on July 12 at Greystone Public House.
For information on upcoming shows, visit concertseries.harrisburgu.edu.