The Postal Service Air Canada Centre, Toronto ON, June 11
Published Jun 12, 2013Flash back to 2003: Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello had little idea that their casual synth-pop side-project would become more than something their most dedicated fans would dig up. Today, Give Up is the best selling LP in Sub Pop's history.
A slow-growing unlikely hit, upon its initial release, the duo only played a month's worth of shows before packing it in. After nine good years of constantly dodging questions about a return, Gibbard and Tamborello took everyone by surprise in February when they announced a reunion to coincide with the tenth anniversary reissue of Give Up.
"This place is a little big, right?" asked Gibbard, knowing full well it far exceeded his little band's expectations. For such an intimate project, the Postal Service live were a major contradiction to their origin. Rounded out by album vocalist Jenny Lewis and Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds), the four-piece were very punctual taking the massive stage in the home of the Maple Leafs and Raptors. Beginning with "The District Sleeps Tonight," Gibbard wasted no time showing just how into these shows he could get, doing his best Ian Curtis shuffle. He was all arms.
On "We Will Become Silhouettes," he put his arms to use with the guitar and later hopping on the drum kit to deliver a bombastic ending. When Tamborello finally got a moment to shine, singing the chorus on "Sleeping In," he received cheers. Announcing "Nothing Better" as "an American love story," Gibbard and Lewis got into the act of lovers, light-heartedly playing off one another to wonderment.
Having just hosted a massive rave the week before, the Air Canada Centre was a tested club zone. (Ed's note: the so-called "massive rave" was indeed at the nearby Rogers Centre and not the ACC.) And songs like "Turn Around," "Clark Gable" and "Natural Anthem" all suggested the same use of the massive space, with the beats booming out of the speakers, and ridding the songs of their simplicity and affection.
Still, the Postal Service did their best with the venue, adjusting the songs fittingly and cruising throughout their entire repertoire, including all ten album tracks, four B-sides, and a cover of "Our Secret" by Beat Happening (with Lewis on drums), whom Gibbard proclaimed as "the greatest band to ever live." As expected, "Such Great Heights" was the most anticipated track, and upon arrival, everyone clapped. Everyone. And the encore's utilization of Dntel's "(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan," the song that gave birth to the Postal Service, felt like Gibbard and Tamborello knew just how special that song is for the fans.
"The album is ten years old, but this band has existed for three months," explained Gibbard. The Postal Service should be proud that they could put on an impressively grand show for such humble music. Despite the awkwardness felt by those who wished they were crammed inside a close and personal club back in 2003, if this is the one and only time the band tours, few can be wholly disappointed by what they saw.