It was a week before the show that I realized I had accidentally packed my ticket to The Postal Service show in one of my boxes for my upcoming move. I went through every box it could have possibly been in, to no avail. Had this been 10 years ago (when I first saw The Postal Service), I would have been completely screwed. Surprisingly though, Ticketmaster seems to have bumped up their customer service and actually allows you now to cancel lost tickets and just pick them up at will call. First sign that this was going to be a good show!
Second sign? I pull up to Universal Orlando, expecting to pay the discounted “after 6PM” rate, only to find out it’s FREE for Florida Residents. So I parked at JAWS, and made my way through the never-ending maze of automated walkways and stairs to Citywalk. I picked up my ticket at will call and joined the already long line waiting in the rain. A light drizzle, nothing worrisome. Plus, they let is in earlier than they usually would have due to the rain.
The opening act came on right at 8PM. Ra Ra Riot. Not a big fan of that particular style, but they were a very good band. The performance was great, due largely in part to half of the band: the singer, the drummer, and the bass player. The singer belted out beautifully, his clear voice cutting easily through the venue. The drummer was tight as can be, and the bass player was the soul of band: his quirky basslines gave the music an interesting backbone. The other members….meh. The electric cellist wasn’t too bad, she was just mixed too low. The violinist and the guitar player seemed like they were there just to visually balance out the stage. I only heard the guitar on a couple of occasions, and it was nothing memorable. Same with the violinist.
A little after 9PM, The Postal Service took the stage. Ben, Jenny, and Jimmy. Oh, and Laura Burhenn, although her contributions were pretty much inaudible for the entire performance (with the exception of her lovely voice harmonizing with Jenny’s). Ben and the gang launched right into “The District Sleeps Alone” and followed with every song on Give Up. They also played a few songs that weren’t on that album, as well as a cover and one of the new songs. The set was energetic, with Ben dancing along most of the time (stark comparison to their show in 2003 where he lumbered about awkwardly to the beat). Rather than update the songs to fit some of the current musical landscapes in the electronic world (*cough* dubstep), they kept everything faithful to the original recordings.
The highlight of the set was “This Place is a Prison.” An incredibly depressing song hidden amongst a wave of unceasing upbeatness and happy melodies, the tune always creates an interesting counterpoint towards the end of Give Up. Live, it took on an even stronger sense of sadness, and was incredibly moving. It ended with Ben rushing over to the drums for the last part (something he did on some other tunes as well). His voice was great from start to finish, as was Jenny’s. Laura’s harmony background to Jenny’s voice fit well. Jimmy even “sung” on a few tunes, although it was usually through some effect.
Lowlights of the performance were the Beat Happening cover (“Our Secret”) and Natural Anthem; the former being a tad boring and not in the spirit of the show, the latter being an inaudible wall of noise and epileptic-seizure-inducing-lights that had no reason to exist other than to scrub everyone’s ears and eyes clean. On the bright side, Ben was sporting his best John Stamos/Uncle Jessie look throughout the show. Jenny looked old…very old….but cute within that. It was mostly her face and her hair, she was rocking the hot G-milf look. (If they ever did a Golden Girls redo, she’d get my vote for Blanche.)
I was very lucky to be able to see The Postal Service perform what I consider to be the best pop album of the 00s live. Apparently the tickets sold out within the first few minutes (I got mine with the AMEX presale). I was able to see them once before on the only other tour they ever did, in 2003. It was in Orlando as well, at the Social. While this show was much more “professional” and a bit more fun, I think the show in 2003 was a better performance and a tad more enjoyable. If there’s enough interest, I can write up a short post about that performance and include some photos as well.
Performance: 9/10 Sound: 8/10 Experience: 7/10
(Opening act: Ra Ra Riot)