I’m not even talking about their music, which I am a huge fan of.  I understand they aren’t for everyone, and most of their albums are fucking growers. Their most recent, 2010’s Year of the Black Rainbow, was one of the biggest disappointments of the year when I first listened to it. But sure enough, three or four listens later I was totally loving it, and wondering what the hell I could have been disappointed with in the first place. I love the album these days. That’s how it has gone for me with pretty much every single album they have put out.

Anywho, enough about their recorded music – what I want to talk about real quick is how Coheed & Cambria do an amazingly above and beyond job of delivering for their fans in the live setting.  I’ve seen them twice in the last year and a half or so, both times at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in Michigan. Last year they were touring behind Black Rainbow, and this weekend they came through town on their ‘Second Stage Turbine Blade 10th Anniversary Neverender Tour.’

I’ll start with this weekend’s show. No opening act, just Coheed for about three and half hours. They came on  shortly after doors for a half hour acoustic set to open the show, took a short break, then came back on and played their debut album Second Stage Turbine Blade in it’s entirety. Then they went off stage for about two minutes before coming back for a five song encore of fan favorites and even a brand new song to cap off the night, finishing at almost midnight. All of it was awesome and felt very special, and they are doing this every single fucking night of this tour – AND they are recording every show and making each date available for download on their website(!).

Last year’s show was notable because, for no apparent reason whatsover-they played a free acoustic set at a BBQ place down the street from the venue hours before the show, then still went on and played a headlining set that lasted forever. An absolutely monstrous set of song after awesome song. When we went to their merch table, every copy of Black Rainbow they had for sale was signed by the entire band; something I have not seen any other band do. For about thirty bucks I walked away with a T-shirt and a signed copy of the album. I thought it was an awesome touch.

My point being that, regardless of what you think of Coheed, you have to respect their work ethic and their dedication to giving fans their money’s worth. It’s very clear that they are in this for the long haul, and even after ten years, they are still hungry enough to go out and play their asses off night after night. They take nothing for granted and truly appreciate being able to do this for a living.

I know Coheed are pretty well established and probably have much more of a budget than many touring bands out there, so they can afford to put in the extra effort, money, and time to do special tours and things like that. But there’s still something to be said for doing so much extra when you’re a decade into your career. They could easily just be coasting, playing an hour and a half of the same damn songs every night, but they most definitely are not. Young bands take a lesson, man.

Oh, and anyone watch the Neverender DVD they put out a few years back? Where they played every single album they’ve ever done in its entirety on consecutive nights? Four nights = four albums played all the way through in the same city, before moving on to the NEXT city and repeating the process for an entire mini-tour. How many bands have done that? Most bands pick a few songs for their setlist and never play certain songs live ever. Coheed can play every song in their catalog live. Necessary? No. Totally fucking awesome? You bet.

Remaining dates for the Second Stage Tour are below. Definitely go if you are able to, you won’t be disappointed:

May 3 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In the Venue
May 5 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox Sodo
May 6 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
May 7 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
May 9 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
May 10 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater
May 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia

-JB

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