Upon first stepping into the Orpheum Theatre (located near the Boston Common across from the Park Street Church), I immediately knew that this would be unlike any concert I had previously attended. First off, the theatre itself has the look and feel of a, uh, well, an old theatre. I wasn’t sure if I was here to see Cake rocking the audience to ‘Going the Distance’ or Javert belting out ‘Stars’. Second, I had assigned seats. Assigned seats? At a concert? Was this the opera? How could a mosh pit be properly organized if everyone was sitting down in their pre-arranged seats? How could you crowd surf if every time you got to the aisle the audience had to let you down again? Very disturbing. And lastly, what was with this crowd? To the right were weed-smoking, nose-ringed, tattooed miscreants, which is what one would expect at any concert. But then to the left were 40 year old Midwesterners with beer guts and scruffy beards. What were they doing here? And then in front of me was an entire family – Dad, Mom, a 13 year old daughter and a ten year old boy. Where was I? Was Barney the opening act? The vast diversity of the crowd itself spoke volumes about the band, whose folksy songs have a universal appeal.
Despite these reservations, I took my place in my assigned seat and prepared myself to get rocked, Cake style.
Cake did not disappoint. Playing songs spanning all their albums, from ‘How do you afford your rock ‘n roll lifestyle?’ (Motorcade of Generosity, 1994) to ‘Daria’ (Fashion Nugget, 1996) to their new hit single ‘No Phone’ (Pressure Chief, 2004), they managed to cater Cake to everyone in the diverse crowd. Particularly on target was Vincent di Fiore who belted out on his trumpet, giving each song its particular Cake feel and making many in the audience wonder where the brass has gone in most of today’s pop hits.
However, the crowd turned on them a bit midway through the act after lead singer John McCrea shouted out “I don’t care about your sports teams,” leading the audience to start a rousing rendition of “Let’s Go Red Sox!” at the top of their lungs. At least they weren’t shouting “Yankees Suck!” But Cake immediately got the crowd back into it by playing their classic song ‘Stickshifts and Safety Belts’. Cake then closed with the two songs that truly put them on the map, ‘The Distance’ and ‘I will Survive’.
All in all it was a great concert with a strong Cake flavor. Nothing flashy, no explosions, no females humping snakes – just great music played by a group who always has their egos checked at the door.
Where Cake will be serving up a tasty slice of music over the next couple months:
10/12: Tampa, FL
10/13: Atlanta, GA
10/15: Charleston, SC
WAVF Fest, Black Bart Stadium
10/17: Indianapolis, IN
10/18: Detroit, MI
10/19: Toronto, Canada