Denver, CO - Saturday is always a good day for concerts. I just love to get up early and head up to Denver for a day of waiting and hoping for a glimpse of the band and hearing the soundcheck through closed doors. But this Saturday was different. First, I woke up to snow and very cold temperatures. Second, I was going to see a band who's music moved me and I admired so much. Just like true Colorado weather, the sun was out by noon, and the snow was gone, so we began the hour and a half drive to Denver.
Once at the venue, finding the band wasn't hard. Jim was the first one I met up with. He was very nice and didn't seemed bothered at all by having us around and immediately okayed me to take pictures during the soundcheck.
At the soundcheck I got to talk to Mark about his side project, Eardrum, and the departure of former Cranes guitarist Matt Cope. He said that even though Matt is missed, they are happy that he is doing what he wants and hope his projects go well. He also said that since Eardrum is quite electronic it would be hard to take it on the road, but that they might try to figure something out. But until then Eardrum stuff can soon be purchased on the Eardrum webpage.
The soundcheck was a great teaser for the show. They practiced 'Far Away' almost all the way through and it sounded great. The music for it was a lot more powerful than the album version and Alison's voice was strong and beautiful. But let me say this: Nothing that the Cranes have put on tape compares with a live show.
I was completely floored first of all with Rasuptina, who are seemingly flawless live and sound even better than they do on the record. So when the Cranes took stage and the crowd erupted with applause, I could feel the energy of what the show would bring. The Cranes came alive completely on stage. Alison softly danced around and her voice was so beautiful. Jim and Mark rocked out on the guitar and Manu proved that he is a welcome addition to the Cranes.
They played a lot of new songs and threw in a few old "Wings Of Joy" surprises. 'Sixth of May' was loud and stunning live. 'Adoration', my favorite, was even more powerful than it's earth-moving album version. The lighting on this song added even a more dramatic touch to an already touching song. There was a bright white light that only seemed to light up Alison with everything else left in darkness.
We were also very lucky to get the 'Starblood' encore. The whole band came to life and everyone rocked out on their instruments. Mark was best to watch as he added to the crunchy noises by beating his guitar with a wrench. Manu beat the drums hard and then just like a true rock star threw his sticks to the audience. While walking off stage, he made sure that Jim's guitar made lots of feedback noises by scratching the strings with a pick.
From the new album my favorite performed live was 'To Be'. It was absolutely beautiful and built up to a great climax at the end. This is also my favorite off "Population 4", so seeing it live just adds so much to its power. The new songs are proving to be great live and allow the band to rock out to their full potential. They seem very comfortable playing these songs and should no longer be constricted with being labeled as a gloomy band, because in no way are the Cranes soft. Each song they do hits you with the strength of a slug in the stomach and leaves you shaking. This tour is one not to miss, because rarely does a band prove that talent goes way beyond the recording studio. And rarely does a show leave you breathless, like the awesome live performance of the Cranes.