There I was camera in hand, standing in the photo pit waiting to see Coheed and Cambria at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ. Trying desperately to hide the huge smile on my face. This was happening and I was excited. I’ve been doing this for a long time but at that moment couldn’t help feeling like a little kid. I absolutely love this band.
In the summer of 2004, I was in my early 20’s working for a music store. At the time there were a few hit songs that I kept hearing. One that stood out was Coheed and Cambria’s Blood Red Summer. It was the second single off of their second album: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. In addition to the song being played everywhere I noticed the album was a popular sell at the store I worked at. Finally, one day I purchased a copy. I listened to that thing the whole way through and then listened again. For months that album did not leave my cd player. I was in awe of the complexity of the music. The album featured some emo-esque pop songs, a style of music very popular at the time, but the album had so much more. It had intricate lyrics harmoniously matched with meandering guitar riffs that equated to 8 min songs. I had fallen in love with the indie progressive rock band and became a huge Coheed and Cambria fan. Naturally when Coheed recently announced an IKSSE:3 Neverender to celebrate the eleven year anniversary of the album I knew I had to be there. A Neverender in the world of Coheed is a concert where they play an entire album from beginning to end. The name Neverender is also a song title from their first album, The Second Stage Turbine Blade.
The lights went down and a spotlight shines on an old school rotary phone sitting on top a table on stage. It rings. I could feel the excitement from the crowd surging forward. The band comes out on stage and jumps right into the first song of the album, which is also the title track. “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” is one of the longer songs on the album at just over 8 min. It is also a fan favorite at shows and usually comes in much later in the setlist. But on this night because of its placement on the album it is the first song played resulting in immediate chaos in the crowd. Chaos that continued for the rest of the night. The members of the band, as always looked like they were having the time of their lives. Front man Claudio Sanchez known for his massive hair when on stage is a true rock star. For most of the set his face was completely hidden by his hair. Travis Stever seemed lost in his own guitar world and was incredibly entertaining to watch. Newest addition to the band, bassist Zach Cooper, always looks like a fan himself. He was singing every word to every song while he made eye contact with fans in the crowd. My favorite member of the band to watch is drummer Josh Eppard. I love watching him tear it up on the drums. He seems to have so much passion for what he does and it pours from him when he is on stage. As a fan, I love seeing that. One of the more endearing moments of the show was when Claudio forgot the lyrics to a song. With a look that said oops and an oh well smirk he continued on. The crowd did not care. When I finally left the photo pit and joined the rest of the crowd I was struck by the age range. It is so amazing to me that this band attracts a fan base so diverse in age. There were the forty somethings right along side the 20 somethings all going crazy together in the crowd.
There was no surprise with the initial set-list. But the best thing about these Neverender shows is that as a fan you get to see the more obscure songs played live. Some of my favorite songs are on this album and they are hardly ever played. Songs like “Cuts Marked in the March of Men” and “The Camper Velourium II: Back End of Forever” are almost never played at shows. But the highlight of the night was “The Light & the Glass”. This song encompasses everything I love about this band. I wish they played it more often. They walked off stage and came back for the encore. They played the hidden track on the album, “21:13”, then left the stage again, completing the entire album. Knowing this band I anticipated a second encore and they did not disappoint. For this encore I expected the usual show favorites. The ones known to get the crowd moving. When they reemerged on stage I was happily surprised. They started it off with “Neverender”. In hindsight this shouldn’t have been a surprise but it was. They invited the trumpet and saxophone players from the opening act, Thank You Scientist, to join them on stage to finish up the encore. with “Number City”. Then they walked off stage again. But wait, the night was not over. They came back out for a third encore. Truly amazing. They exceeded my expectations for the night. For the third encore I was blown away when they started off with “The Lying Lies & Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court”. This is a song that I love and would never expect to hear live. They saved “Welcome Home” for the final song of the night. This song is a staple of Coheed shows. Claudio played the song on his white double neck guitar in what looked like a Joker mask. It was hard to tell from where I was standing but knowing the bands affinity for comics I think it is safe to say it was the Joker.
By the end of the night everyone around me was exhausted, including myself. It was an intense two hours of music. I’ve seen this band more times than I can remember. Some shows blend into each other but this night will stand out. I am so happy to have been able to join in the celebration of their landmark album. The very album that made me fall in love with music again.
Article by: Chrissy Lush
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