Concert Review: Explosions in the Sky

We’re Explosions in the Sky from Texas. Here we go.

After thanking the crowd and their opening act and making a quick comment regarding the venue, those ten words–“We’re Explosions in the Sky from Texas. Here we go.”– were the last comments heard from Explosions in the Sky until after they closed down their set with an incredible rendition of “The Moon is Down” an hour and a half later. To say I enjoyed myself would be an understatement. Listening to Explosions in the Sky in concert is an emotionally powerful experience. 

Their concert (June 26th at the Chicago Theatre) started off incredibly strong, with my favorite song from their latest album, “Postcard from 1952.” Only two songs later, they played my favorite of all their songs, “The Only Moment We Were Alone.” I wondered how the band could possibly keep the energy up the entire show. The show did hit a brief lull around  “Let Me Back In,” but the strong finish ensured that the crowd wouldn’t leave disappointed. The band clearly puts maximum energy into their performances. I think this is the reason I’ll love a song much more after hearing it performed in concert. “The Moon is Down” was rarely part of my regular listening rotation until I heard the live version. Explosions in the Sky never plays encores, a fact I appreciate. They give you all they have for their show, and they don’t need you cheering them back onto the stage to play ONE MORE SONG.

Explosions at the Chicago Theater

The band plays with a modest setup. Besides a few lighting effects and a Texas flag hanging over an amplifier, you’re basically just getting the band. I enjoy the minimalist staging, which lends itself to their brand of music. Their songs are highly emotional and require the audience to put their own meaning into the music. I will admit, however, that Explosions’ songs require a fairly knowledgeable listener who appreciates the artistry of the music, understanding, for example, that the crescendos are just as important as the diminuendos. If some audience members don’t respect that, it can put a damper on the show. Unfortunately, three such people in our section that night either didn’t understand this or didn’t care. They were hooting and hollering every chance they could get, clapping off beat, and generally just being annoying. The fact that they were the only ones doing this didn’t seem to faze them. At one point, security got involved, but instead of the jerks being removed, they were just moved closer to us in an unoccupied section. During one of the quieter parts of “The Only Moment We Were Alone,” I had to hear, “Let’s go enjoy the FUCKING show!!!” Despite their best attempts, they didn’t ruin the show for me. That’s not to say I wasn’t rooting for them to fall over the balcony, however.

If you ever get a chance to see Explosions in the Sky in concert I highly recommend it. Let me know if you were at this show or if you’ve seen them in the past!

Setlist:

  • “Postcard from 1952” Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
  • “Catastrophe and the Cure” All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
  • “The Only Moment We Were Alone” The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
  • “Human Qualities” Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
  • “The Birth and Death of the Day” All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
  • “Your Hand in Mine” The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
  • “Greet Death” Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever
  • “Let Me Back In” Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
  • “The Moon is Down” Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever
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