Sometimes it’s just necessary to do a victory lap and play that special show to end a touring cycle. Interpol did just that with a short winter tour that ended at the World’s Most Famous Arena: Madison Square Garden. They marked the occasion by bringing along fellow Matador Records label mates Car Seat Headrest and Snail Mail. The concert was like clock work with every band wasting little time and playing as many songs as they could in the time allowed.
Snail Mail started the evening with a four song set of “Heat Wave,” “Thinning,” “Speaking Terms” and “Pristine.” Lindsey Jordan thanked the crowd for coming early between songs and tore into her guitar during the short set. The band sounded great and it was too bad they only had a little over 20 minutes on stage. Obviously MSG is a room that is far bigger than what they usually play, but they made the most of it and I’m sure converted some new listeners in the process as they came in to the show.
Car Seat Headrest took the stage next after only about a ten minute break to switch the gear on stage and took no prisoners with a blistering four song set. They also were only on stage a for a little over 20 minutes but the now seven piece monster they have transformed in to, since Seattle trio Naked Giants joined the group, never stopped moving around the stage. They played “Can’t Cool Me Down,” “Bodys,” “Drunk Driver/Killer Whales
and “Destroyed By Hippies.” Not that they are ready for a room the size of MSG for themselves, they can open for any band there at any moment they want to. The energy in the room was electric, especially during the last song of the set where Will through carrots into the crowd as Henry LaVallee sprinted across the stage and in the photo pit, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.
After another short change over, the main event hit the stage with a 20 song career spanning set list. They hit every album in their discography, with Antics and Turn on the Bright Lights carrying a majority of the workload. “Pioneer to the Falls” started everything off with Paul Banks’ vocals careening around the arena, while disco balls lit up the stage and the crowd. After a quick thank you, the band tore through “C’mere” and “If You Really Love Nothing.” Paul didn’t say too much during the night as they wanted to fit in as much music as possible but did thank the crowd for an unforgettable evening near the end.
The back to back of “NYC” and “Take You on a Cruise” drove the crowd absolutely wild. Daniel Kessler seemed like a man possessed during the night as he couldn’t stop moving and ripping off solos in almost every song and seemed to feed off of the energy of the crowd. The same goes for Sam Fogarino who was a machine on the drums. The man just didn’t stop or seem to need a break from the kit. Brandon Curtis balanced Paul’s vocals out and added in beautiful touches on his keyboards all night. Brad Traux had the duty, as he has had for the last few tours, of playing some of the most iconic bass lines from the band’s discography, much to the crowd’s delight.
Both “Flight of Fancy” and “The New” saw the band let loose and jam the songs out a bit. It was great to listen and witness the band just rock out instead of playing the songs far closer to how they were made in the studio. I think the band should let loose a little more often in their set, but that hasn’t really been their m.o. ever and their career hasn’t suffered for it and no one is really complaining. The final run of songs of the set brought the entire arena to their feet as the band went from “All The Rage Back Home” to “Fine Mess” to finally “Slow Hands,” which has been and will always be an absolute rocker live.
The band came back on to close it out with a three song encore of “Lights,” “Not Even Jail” and the final song of the night “Obstacle 1.” There weren’t any surprises set list wise during the show, but you really couldn’t ask for a more perfect set by them as the headlined MSG. The crowd gave the entire band quite the ovation after “Obstacle 1” that stopped the band in their tracks as they were leaving the stage waving goodbye. Interpol don’t usually play arenas, but MSG was the right choice to close out this album cycle.
Article: Bryan Lasky