The Places I’ve Seen
A look at Long After Dark’s 2011 concert sojourn, a year immersed in concert sweat, tinnitus, and unbelievable shows that provided lasting memories.
8) Twin Shadow/Florence + the Machine – Penn’s Landing Festival Pier, 6/20/11 –
While Florence + the Machine mustered an excellent show to a very receptive crowd, Florence Welch lost points for a 45-minute wait between her set and unspectacular opener Twin Shadow’s. Welch’s pixy-like visual appearance and fluid movement brought her powerful songs to life and helped to mark the group as a potential must-see band in the coming years.
7) The Hours/Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Academy of Music, 11/11/11 – The first solo run for Noel Gallagher provided an intimate look at the former Oasis songwriter, as he played in just a handful of cozy venues for the tour’s North American leg. For his tour’s Philadelphia stop, Gallagher played in the historic Academy of Music, noting that is was a “little dose of the [Royal] Albert Hall.” The setlist was a 50/50 blend of solo material and the Oasis catalog, a perfect mix to delight Gallagher’s faithful devotees who had only a few days to learn his new album.
6) The Joy Formidable – North Star Bar, 12/12/11 – A band with great things sitting on the horizon, The Joy Formidable played an energetic hourlong set in a very snug setting. Keyed by frontwoman Ritzy Bryan, the Welsh trio left nothing in the tank to the crowd of 300 that had gained entrance via donations to Toys For Tots.
5) Blitzen Traper/Dawes – Theater of the Living Arts, 10/27/11 – A smart pairing to tour together, the crowd at the Theater of the Living Arts seemed to lean a bit more towards Dawes, who have received consistent airplay on Philadelphia’s influential radio station WXPN. The show’s most brilliant moment came during the final chorus of Dawes’ “When My Time Comes,” as the audience at the TLA belted the song’s closing lines in unison with frontman Taylor Goldsmith.
4) Mariachi El Bronx/Rise Against/Foo Fighters – Izod Center, 9/26/11 – The first of two Foo Fighters shows on this list, the concert was marked by two notable guests who joined the headliners on stage. Former Husker Du/Sugar member Bob Mould played with the Foo Fighters for two songs and former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic joined in on “These Days,” helping to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the album Nevermind with former bandmates Dave Grohl and Pat Smear.
3) Walk The Moon/Fitz and the Tantrums – Theater of the Living Arts, 11/12/11 – Two bands that share a knack for live performance, Walk The Moon and Fitz and the Tantrums played an exhaustive set at South Philadelphia’s Theater of the Living Arts. Fitz and the Tantrums are doubly fronted by the kinetic Noelle Scaggs and Michael Fitzpatrick, who share an extraordinary ability to bring a crowd to life.
2) Interpol/U2 – Lincoln Financial Field, 7/14/11 – Confession: Long After Dark missed Interpol’s half of the show due to a sluggish traffic jam, but made it just in time to see one of the most-hyped tours in music history touch down in Philadelphia. The 360 Tour’s massive stage was a true spectacle, allowing for an unprecedented visual setup. The Irish band played a comprehensive 25-song set that was capped by the packed stadium singing “Happy Birthday” to South African icon Nelson Mandela. Seeing the band play timeless hits like “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “Walk On” made for a truly special experience that few bands have ever been able to equate.
1) The Joy Formidable/Social Distortion/Foo Fighters – Wells Fargo Center, 11/10/11 – The ultimate tour in rock ‘n roll this year, the Foo Fighters held Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center in the palm of their hands during a three-hour, 24-song set. The band played a career-spanning set which including six songs from 2011’s Wasting Light album and covers of Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, and The Beatles. Infused by the capacity crowd’s energy, the Foo Fighters put every ounce of energy into the show, playing memorable versions of “Stacked Actors,” “All My Life,” “Let It Die,” and “Breakout.”