Photograph by David Holloway

January 29, 2011 – Band reunions are all the rage these days, with critical darlings like Pavement and the Pixies finally capitalizing on their indie cred, but no one inspired me to go into full-on road trip mode until I heard rumblings The Dismemberment Plan were getting back together. True, they did reunite once before for a string of hometown charity shows in Washington, but this marks their first legitimate tour since 2003. Seeing them at their sold out show at Webster Hall seemed as good as any reason to finally get a taste of the Big Apple.

Guitarist Jason Caddell’s current project Poor But Sexy served as openers, offering an interesting melange of dance, funk, and soul, but the night didn’t truly begin until Travis Morrison greeted the crowd with the opening bars of ‘A Life of Possibilities’. The classy starlight backdrop that was revealed halfway through the song, perhaps a reference to drummer Joe Easley’s day job at NASA, really set the tone for the night. The Plan focused on material from the recently re-issued Emergency and I, but all four of their studio albums were represented. Following a run through some of my slower favourites, particularly ‘Spider in the Snow’ and ‘Rusty’, the show reached a fever pitch with ‘You are Invited’. Between the entire crowd singing along, the amazing lighting cue during the chorus, and a remark that a fan drinking a Heineken wasn’t invited, the high mark was set, and the energy continued for the rest of the set.

Frequently breaking out in laughter during songs, Morrison was one of the happiest frontmen I’ve ever seen, accompanied by some of the funniest stage banter I’ve ever heard. This included such gems as referring to a fan as Daniel Radcliffe falling on hard times, out of quidditch and into beer pong. The main set closed with a version of ‘OK, Joke’s Over’ that incorporated an impromptu performance of ‘Whip My Hair’. Surprisingly, I had gone that far without hearing Willow Smith’s magnum opus, but I suppose that was the best situation in which to hear it. The encore began with half the crowd on stage as they launched into ‘The Ice of Boston’. Normally such crowd interaction would feel forced, but this was an all-out lovefest. Even the hand waving during ‘Back and Forth’ felt remarkably organic. Though an early venue curfew deprived us of a few songs, there’s no way that anyone could have walked away from the show unsatisfied. It remains to be seen whether this reunion will last, but the music world is a better place with the Dismemberment Plan together.

A Life of Possibilities
Spider in the Snow
The Face of the Earth
Ellen and Ben
You Are Invited
Memory Machine
What Do You Want Me to Say?
Pay for the Piano
Time Bomb
Do the Standing Still
Back and Forth
If I Don’t Write
The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich
OK, Joke’s Over

The Ice of Boston
Following Through
The City


— , February 4, 2011    Comments Off on The Dismemberment Plan: Webster Hall