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Death Cab for Cutie Overcome Orchestral Tour Jitters at Denver Opener

Death Cab For Cutie Visit
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

After months of anticipation, Death Cab for Cutie launched their tour backed by San Francisco’s Magik*Magik Orchestra. The indie rock megastars have reworked their songs to be complemented by the orchestra, which frontman Ben Gibbard admits was something that scared the band.

Gibbard sat down with Reverb for an interview last week before the tour launched. The nervousness increased as Death Cab got closer to launching their trek, but the singer believes fans deserve something different when they come to a show.

“Of course there’s a comfort to knowing how to put on our show at this point and knowing what’s going to work at this stage,” Gibbard says. “I’ve increasingly felt the obligation that people who are paying money for these shows — well, it’s always been my philosophy that when we play a standard show, we’re not playing the same set every night, but we have blocks of songs that work together.”

Fans who are worried that certain songs will be practically unrecognizable can cast their fears aside. While tracks have been rearranged to accommodate the Magik*Magik Orchestra, they won’t be completely altered.

“We’re kind of in between playing the songs the way people grew to know them and creating arrangements that heighten the emotional impact of the songs,” Gibbard explains. “But at the same time, I’m not interested in trying to completely reinvent the songs for this particular staging so that you wouldn’t recognize them.”

John Wenzel of Rolling Stone covered the first night of the tour in Denver on Tuesday night (April 10). The writer gave a favorable review of the show, stating that Magik*Magik was a “smart addition to Death Cab’s rich melodic sound.” There was less emphasis on the band’s most recent album, ‘Codes and Keys,’ in favor of a more varied setlist from their whole catalog.

Death Cab for Cutie will remain on the road until May 13 in their hometown of Seattle, Wash. The band will make a number of festival appearances after that, including a headlining slot at the 80/35 Festival in Des Moines, Iowa.

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