w/ mewithoutyou., Turnover
San Francisco, CA
February 20, 2017
For the first time a long time, at least as far as I can remember, there is a curtain draped over the stage at The Warfield Theater in San Francisco. This is an exciting moment, and the thoughts rush through my head: what could be lurking behind that curtain, waiting to present a major thrill to fans in this venue? Whenever The Warfield employs the use of the stage curtains (it's actually a theater, not just a music venue), it means that there is something hidden behind the stage that, production-wise, is going to surprise fans.
Surprises there were, indeed. When the lights go down, the curtain is lifted to reveal that Circa Survive are here, and they are not taking the celebration of the ten-year anniversary of their critically and fan-acclaimed album, On Letting Go, lightly. Hovering above either side of drummer Steve Clifford's drum kit are two oversized hot-air balloons, with the basket missing. In the place of the passenger transportation unit are two mannequin-looking figures, both clad in a dress, the faces blocked out by what looks like a vibrant paper-mache fire. This is a recreation of On Letting Go's iconic album artwork, the first thing to capture fans' attention and elicit a roar of applause.
The balloons light up to feature a number of animated projections (all of which continue throughout the course of the show). The full band walk out onto the stage: Brendan Ekstrom (rhythm guitar), Nick Beard (bass), Steve Clifford, and Colin Frangicetto (lead guitar). Vocalist Anthony Green is the last to come into eyesight, and a gigantic roar of cheers comes from the audience. Green speaks for a moment, nothing but cheers heard throughout the three thousand cap venue. He looks as if he's holding off, waiting to give a signal of some kind.
Green throws his arms forward, and the band launch straight into the first track of On Letting Go, perfectly in sync with one another, as a storm of red and white confetti cascades down on the audience in droves. There's nothing but smiles around the room.
There is not a single word that isn't sung back to Circa Survive throughout the duration of the night. I'm sure that some vocal cords were shredded by the concluding track, when it eventually did make its way into the setlist. Seeing a band like this live is hard to put into words; you really have to see them for yourself in order to understand the emotional impact they have on their audience. It's similar to watching a band like Underoath (who took the stage at this venue in March of last year): they both have some of the most dedicated and loyal fans the world over, and it's obvious when you attend one of their shows.
It's a combination of both the band themselves, the nostalgia of the record that On Letting Go provides, and Green's attitude and stage presence that makes Circa Survive continue to be one of the can't miss acts within the alternative rock music scene, and what made last Monday's show at The Warfield Theater in San Francisco so memorable. Whoever said that ten-year anniversary tours are a "gimmick" was very wrong. Circa Survive's On Letting Go tour is proof that ten-year tours can be vital, authentic, and they're even better when you see a band that's visibly enjoying every single moment they're up on that stage.
In the Morning and Amazing...
The Greatest Lie
The Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is in the Dose
Kicking Your Crosses Down
On Letting Go
Carry Us Away
The Most Dangerous Commercials
Close Your Eyes to See
Your Friends Are Gone