Live Review: Incubus @ Rogers Arena, Vancouver – September 4th 2012

On September 4th, I went to see Linkin Park, Incubus and Mutemath. Second up was Incubus, much to the surprise of a fan I met after their set, as he thought they were the number 1 band by far! I can’t imagine many people thought this, however, since their audience support through-out the show was a bit lack-luster, though to be fair, there were a couple thousand people. This didn’t stop the band by any means, though. With remnants of a throat infection, Brandon Boyd gave his all for the entire performance.

They opened with “Privilege,” then moved into “Wish You Were Here.” As if a moment of serendipity, or more-so coincidence, between “Wish You Were Here” and the following song, I heard a fellow concert-goer mention that Brandon looked like business Jesus, stating that his flowing brown locks and his facial hair contrasted the baby blue collared shirt he was wearing. The next song happened to be “Megalomaniac” which includes the lyrics ‘Hey megalomaniac / You’re no Jesus.’ Once I swallowed that bit of pseudo-irony, I started to notice the fantastic visual art display behind them. The gig took place at the biggest live music venue in Vancouver, Rogers Arena (formerly known as General Motors Place) and it can hold around 18,000 when you open the floor access, as was done for this show. With a budget that big, I guess they could afford to do something amazing and between the band’s own crew and the venue, they pulled off some fantastic moving pictures for the audience. Although, the show looked to be far from sold out, with many empty seats in the upper tier, aside from the spot nearest the stage.

Boyd’s musicianship far expands from his vocal ability and he quickly picked up a tambourine to add that extra something. By this point, they switched to some newer material, “Adolescents,” but switched back to the more well-known, “Nice To Know You.” The moment that the song was recognizable, the crowd began cheering. Drummer Jose Pasillas’ drum solo got the crowd going and I really enjoyed the level of ability he showed. Pasillas and Boyd milked the ending for every note they could, seeing that the audience was really into it and it was the first time I observed people really enjoying themselves.

Back to their newest album, they played the title-track, “If Not Now, When?” For the slower song, Brandon grabbed a guitar and played along. Going back a few years, they played “Made For TV Movie” and interestingly, followed that by a Lionel Richie cover, “Hello.” Guitarist Mike Einzinger pulled off an amazing guitar solo that brought up the audience’s energy. The next song didn’t do any harm either, as it’s one of their most famous songs from back in 2006, “Anna Molly.”

Personally, I danced and sang more to that song than any other because it’s been my favourite Incubus song since it came out, aside from the classic “Pardon Me.” The band seemed just as pumped up about “Anna Molly” as I was, and watching them dance around with such energy was awesome. Just watching DJ/Keyboardist Chris Kilmore was entrancing. His super long dreadlocks were everywhere, flying through the air with every motion he made.

They followed that with “A Kiss To Send Us Off,” and quickly moved into “Drive,” another song the audience knew well. Singing along, Brandon let the audience take over for the lyrics “Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there / With open arms and open eyes, yeah.” The whole arena seemed to light up and hearing thousands of voices in unison singing a song from my childhood literally gave me goosebumps. After the song, Brandon mentioned to the audience that he had felt better, likely given his throat irritations, but that he really appreciated the audience and loved “this.” He joked, saying that he sounded better when we sang along with him and it put a smile on my face.

Throughout the show, he was probably the most polite person I’ve watched on a stage, thanking the crowd after almost every song. I also noticed that when they played a lot of their older songs, the video of the members shown on the screen was black and white. They also did some interesting things with colour balance, making the video seem like the lights were different colours than they were.

Switching between current and classic, they played “In The Company of Wolves” from “If Not Now, When?” and right at the beginning of the song, what looked like golden rain fell from the top of the monitor down and Mr. Boyd’s fingers followed the trail down. A handful of lighters turned on in the audience and a couple of scarce cell phones in the crowded seats as people swayed back and forth. Then came my greatest wave of nostalgia, “Pardon Me.” Just before the song began, Boyd took off his shirt and his many tattoos were suddenly visible, which quickly turned into cheers from the women in the audience.

He took his place by the gong and once the lyrics started, he came to the front of the stage and sang to each and every person in front of him. I was a bit sad that when he paused for the audience to fill in the gap for a sing-along, not nearly as many people knew the lyrics, which made me believe that this was a relatively young audience who didn’t know the older songs.

Back to the current, they played “Rebel Girls,” and the singer decided to play some drums, while facing the other drummer with his set-up. They ended with “Sick Sad Little World,” thanked the audience one last time, specifically for bearing with Brandon throughout his vocal troubles, and finished up on “Tomorrow’s Food.” I personally barely noticed anything wrong with his singing, although I’m sure he was stressing himself more than he should have to deliver such a fantastic performance. I only would have wished the audience would have appreciated it a touch more, or maybe that they had played at a smaller venue, but I am glad to have seen them live after all the years I’ve been listening to them.

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