In February of 2003, the Postal Service released the album Give Up after recording remotely and separately for two years. With that comfortable pace and Death Cab For Cutie’s popularity soaring, I was hoping to see them tour but wasn’t counting on it. The album was a huge, immediate success and a tour of small clubs was announced. It sold out almost immediately. From the sound of things, they could’ve played places two or three times bigger.
Just our luck, the very first show was here in San Diego on April 4th at the tiny Casbah (capacity 220). Ben Gibbard was no stranger to the club. Death Cab played their first San Diego show there in 1999 to about five of us. When they came back a year or two later with Pedro the Lion, it was sold out. Ben remembered their first show onstage…
Ben: The last time we were here, there were only about five people.
Me: and it was awesome!
Ben: You weren’t there!
Me: Yeah, I was!
Ben: (seeing it’s me) Ok, YOU were.
The Postal Service sounded amazing, despite a couple of first-show technical delays in-between songs, and looked stunning thanks to the visuals of Def Cab bassist Nick Harmer. I can still the words WHERE I AM floating in space being projected. Most of the beats were pre-recorded but Ben hopped on the drumkit a few times. I’m sure I didn’t know which songs Jenny Lewis sang on the album but she sounded great and got a huge cheer when she strode out to do her part on “Nothing Better”. They played everything off the record and encored with a cover of Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds”, complete with slow-motion scenes from the movie projected over them.
Lee Meredith got some great shots, per always, for her Colored Lights website.
Short Subpop video for the 10 year anniversary, mentioning starting in San Diego
Check out Ben remembering that first show when the band played the SDSU Open Air Ampitheater in 2013…
MTV news report posted the night of the first show
Recently reuploaded 2003 KCRW footage
Postal Service 2003-2004 gigography from Rilo Kiley fansite.
Owl & Bear’s review and great photos from their 2013 return to San Diego