Ben Gibbard brought his guitar, piano, and a couple touring friends (openers Johnathan Rice and David Bazan) to town last week for the fourth date of his in-progress solo tour. The guys hit the sold-out, 900-seat Somerville Theatre, and I nearly missed it. The morning those tickets went on sale, I happened to be knocked out with a serious flu virus, and by the time I gathered my wits and remembered what day it was, they were long gone. But thanks to a same-day favor from a friend, I fortunately found myself there on Monday, May 7th for all three acoustic sets.
For now, here's Ben's entire Somerville performance. He's been playing a mix of Death Cab For Cutie, Postal Service, and older solo songs, as well as a rotation of covers (we were treated to Donovan, Neil Young, and Nirvana) and the occasional new one. I'm usually hesitant to share up unreleased new songs, but with the ubiquitousness of shaky YouTube videos, I figured maybe it's better to see some high-ish quality live versions make their way out there. I'll hopefully be sharing up David Bazan's set next week...
For those keeping score, that's 3 covers, 10 Death Cab For Cutie songs, 4 Postal Service songs, a couple new solo numbers, and an older solo cut from the split "Home" EP with American Analog Set's Andrew Kenny.
To hear that entire NPR broadcast, head to this All Songs Considered page where you can stream it or download one big honkin' Mp3 file. UPDATE 5/19: Word from NPR is that Ben's management only wants his set available for a limited time, so they've now shared it as part of the ASC podcast, which you can grab by subscribing over here (iTunes podcast link / mp3 link). Knowing that's their preference, please note that I'll only be offering up my shared mp3s above for a short time as well.
Usually NPR posts the setlists for the shows they share, but for some reason they haven't for Ben's. So I'll do it for you...
Ben Gibbard at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC on May 10th, 2007: To Sing For You, Brand New Colony, Title & Registration, Crooked Teeth, We Will Become Silhouettes, Photobooth, Why You'd Want To Live Here, Passenger Seat, Soul Meets Body, Recycled Air, Farmer Chords, Couches in Alleys, A Lack of Color, Sound of Settling, Such Great Heights, Blacking Out the Friction, All Apologies, I Will Follow You Into The Dark.
And remember, since Ben & the rest of Death Cab have given permission for their material to be shared on the Live Music Archive, you can find a ton of DCFC live shows over there.
Stereogum shared three YouTube vids recorded by msquared64 at the Somerville show, with clips for "All Apologies", "Thin Ice", and "Casino Blues", and Pitchfork shared a bunch of photos as well.
The Gibbard/Bazan/Rice train rolls on for just six more dates, with stops in Dallas tonight, Austin, L.A., San Fran, and Portland this week, and two homecoming shows in Seattle on Sunday and Monday. Details on each show are here.
the post-script... If anyone has an issue with these Mp3s being made available, just let me know (my contact info in the 'nac faq). Live sets recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps Mp3s. Files are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.