Dispatch is a band thats has stood the test of time. Despite not putting out a new record since 2000, the hype for this tour has been through the roof. I arrived to the show about 30 minutes before the doors opened. When I got there, I saw a huge line of people just waiting to get as close to the stage as possible. While waiting in line I overheard a few conversations fuming with anticipation. With the exception of the few reunion shows they played, they hadn’t played together much at all over the past 10 years. Having never seen them live before I wasn’t sure what to expect. The entire audience, myself included, did not leave disappointed.
The opening act Good Old War, was not something to be overlooked either. When they walked on stage I Immediately loved them. They have this nerd-like charm that draws you in and cause you to root for them. Each member of the band brought both personality and energy to every song. They also did a great job engaging the crowd. Often times an opening band knows most of the people there didn’t come for them, and it can affect the performance. This group however played the show as if they were in their home town playing for people they know. Good Old War is most certainly a band to keep an eye on.
As the crew began moving things around on stage, setting up for Dispatch, you could feel the energy in the room building. Every little sound check sent a low roar through the crowd. The very second the first member walked on stage, the cheers were deafening. They started playing and instantly the audience was right there with them. The first few songs flowed really well, bringing in a banjo player and playing to the crowd a bit. As the performance went on, they didn’t do much talking to the audience, mostly because they didn’t need to. The music is all the communication the fans were looking for.
The energy built very steadily throughout the show. I was very impressed with the sheer musicianship of each member of the band. They were running all over the stage from instrument to instrument, both during and in-between songs. The audience members didn’t miss a beat either. During one song they transitioned into playing a variation of 99 red balloons. The crowd wasn’t fooled one bit they knew every Dispatch song and knew this wasn’t one of them. They seamlessly transitioned back into their original piece and the crowd joined right back in.
The last 15 minutes of the show were simply electric. All three members were right there in the front of the stage playing to the crowd, and rocking out harder than ever. Brad was dancing like crazy, Chad was belting his heart out, and Pete was moving all over the stage wailing on the guitar. Before the final few songs of the night the band kneeled down to get a picture with everyone in the audience. Making those close to the stage very excited. Not a single member of the band was afraid to get right in the face of the fans, who had waited so long to see them again. The last few songs became a massive sing along, engaging the standing crowd and the balcony crowd alike. The last thing they played was their famous song ‘Flying Horses’. They jammed out during the middle on bongs, guitar, and bass. Increasing the tempo with each chorus they didn’t miss a single note. When they left the stage the crowd waited with anticipation for the encore. Brad began creeping back onto the stage and the cheers could have been heard from the street. The final song they did was one off the new album. It was clear the audience didn’t know it as well, but loved it regardless.
Even though these three fantastic musicians were out of the game for virtually 9 years, they put on a show that will not be forgotten. It was as if they had never took a hiatus.
Review by: Erin O'Connell
Photos by: Brian Morgan