Just when you thought they couldn’t get any better.
The stage lights went off and the whole audience stood up and excitedly screamed into the blackness and then Glass Animals didn’t come out. Kendrick Lamar’s HUMBLE sounded through the arena and everybody sat back down as Lamar instructed. I couldn’t help but feel it was intentional.
There were two openers, a lot of waiting, anticipating and build up that was eventually met with the static on a cartoonish TV and the brilliant use of the random album interlude “Pre-made Sandwiches.” Everyone focused on the static, patiently listening to the disguised voice talking about stuffing non-GMO quinoa down your “food pipe tonight.” Attendees were waiting and anticipating the opening chords of “Life Itself.” The suspense was successfully built.
When I first saw Glass Animals it was about a month after “How to be a Human Being” was released. I didn’t know what to expect. I spent a lot of the concert in awe of their ability to bring this largely electronic sounding music to life with -for the most part- your typical drums, vocals, guitars, and keyboard set up. Glass animals was truly unique and more impressive than I thought.
They lived in a little pocket of my music taste after that show. I saw them in a whole different light and once I got a taste for what an hour and a half of just Glass Animals could be, there was no going back. Separating the songs diminishes the Glass Animals’ experience. All the songs play off one another and build this insane musical experience. It is a phenomenon that I don’t understand, but picking your favorites to put on “jams summer ‘17” just won’t give you the same vibe, the same electronic spark.
The live shows are always going to be impressive because of that phenomenon. The impressive music is amplified by perfectly synced lightning queues. The color of the stage changes colors depending on the album the song was from. A giant pineapple shaped disco ball takes center stage. And there is enough fog to make you question whether you would notice if the venue was on fire.
There are no screens, and spotlights are few and far between. The concert calls upon all of your senses (aside from taste, thankfully). It is all about emphasizing the music and bringing it to life. It is an experience more than a performance. Lead singer, Dave Bayley does jump around incessantly making him the dark horse in the most athletic contest. The lighting design, however, makes him silhouette of limbs for most of the show.
The first concert gave me the opportunity to bask in the hype. I knew the songs, but the album was new enough that I hadn’t grown tired of the tracks. It was the album release sweet spot, the ideal concert experience.
“How to be a Human Being” was out for over a year for this tour. 2016 kept the hype to itself. I listened to it sparingly between the other shiny new albums. But the experience was just as great. It was ripe with nostalgia, like running into the arms of your best friend from college at the airport. “Season 2 Episode 3,” “Life itself,” and “Pork Soda” really took all the credit on this album, but listening to everything live made me remember quieter “Mama’s Gun,” and “The Other Side of Paradise.”
If you are in Texas, Mexico, or Australia check out their retro tour website.