Where the Bands Are (The War on Drugs, 17 April 2022)

As I mentioned in my review of their live album (“Live Drugs” dec 2020) I’m a fairly new fan of The War on Drugs. When I found out that their tour was coming to Europe I started looking for suitable dates and locations. As it turns out I was able to combine a short vacation in a city I really like with good company, while visiting a long-lost friend AND see a show. That is how I ended up in Edinburgh on the Easter weekend of 2022.

The Edinburgh Corn Exchange (aka O2 Academy Edinburgh) is a relatively small live music locale in an Edinburgh suburb. It’s an all-standing venue with a capacity of 3000 spectators AND a carpeted floor 😳 (which was very good for sucking up floods of spilled beer from the boozed part of the audience).

The evening started with a good set by the support act Lo Moon. The War on Drugs walked on stage at 8:50 rolling right into “Old Skin” one out of six songs from their latest album “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”. A good start to a show that was filled with their signature sound: a steady backbeat and rich layers of guitars and synths folding in and over each other.

The stage design was simple and classic, three band members in the back and four in the front. I counted no less than four synthesisers on stage. The lightning effectively passed on the tone of each track, from a moody dark colour to pointed beams and flashing lines and patterns.

It surprised me to see the crowd throwing (plastic) glasses of beer at the stage after the singer Adam Granduciel had specifically joked about that they were insulted nobody had thrown any drinks yet. Apparently they had been told that it’s only a good show in Scotland if you get pelted with beer – weird!

It was a great set with a spirited audience. One of the biggest reactions of the night came towards the end from the energetic “Under Pressure,” which had nearly the entire venue bouncing up and down. The set ended a bit abruptly, without any encores, with the tour’s title track “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”. I had hoped they would play Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane”, like they had done at some earlier shows but, all in all, I was very pleased and content as my company and I rushed back to the bus in the light rain.


Setlist:

  • Old Skin
  • Pain
  • An Ocean in Between the Waves
  • I Don’t Wanna Wait
  • Victim
  • Strangest Thing
  • Red Eyes
  • Living Proof
  • Harmonia’s Dream
  • Burning
  • Come to the City
  • Lost in the Dream
  • Under Pressure
  • I don’t live Here Anymore

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