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Coheed and Cambria, live in New York

Live Review

Venue: Hammerstein Ballroom

An enchanted evening with Claudio and co.

The planetary alignment of the Amory Wars universe that makes up the Coheed And Cambria logo above the stage begins emanating red light through its carefully designed indentations. It instigates a feeling of agitation accompanied by a swarm of screams originating from the largely male crowd. In space, where most of this musical entity’s fantasy world is set, nobody can hear you scream, but at this show the diehard fans would drown out most prepubescent girls’ shrieks at any One Direction gig.

There’s a reason for this - Coheed And Cambria fans know that when the lights go down and a phone starts ringing, it could only mean one thing: the imminent airoing of In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3. For the band to perform the album that, 11 years ago, propelled them onto the national and international stage, in its entirety is a stroke of genius, especially now that their most recent opus, The Afterman: Descension is soon reaching the end of its promotional cycle.

Tonight’s show unfolds into an uninterrupted Prog spectacle that temporarily halts after The Camper Velourium III: Al The Killer when vocalist Claudio Sanchez feels it is time to address the crowd.

“This is where we say hello,” he coyly begins. “Thank you for coming out to celebrate 11 years of In Keeping Secrets. We are very grateful to be here, ‘cos you never know how long you can do all this. We have been through a lot, but I can safely say that this is the best time for us to be in Coheed and Cambria.”

You hear bands vomit that prefabricated crap onto their audiences all the time, but there is a sincerity in his voice that hits home. For fate has thrown some harsh challenges onto Coheed And Cambria’s path since 2006 - members who left due to drug addiction, a bassist that returned for a while before making yet another spectacular exit after robbing a pharmacy at gunpoint while on tour in 2011, a dream replacement drummer, Chris Pennie who appeared to be a solid new member, but due to contractual obligations with his previous band, The Dillinger Escape Plan, found himself unable to don his services on Coheed’s fourth album. Thank fuck for Travis Steever who, alongside Sanchez, has been a shining constant star within the progressive ensemble. 

Musically, however, you’d never notice. A Flavor House Atlantic picks up where Sanchez's speech of gratitude left off. Tonight, I_n Keeping Secrets_ is delivered back to back employing the same degree of emotional turbulence that spawned the original production, only with the added technical precision of a band that has truly honed its craft since its release. Jam-packed with gems, the encore features Neverender, Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial) and Number City for which the headliners engage the services of support band, Thank You Scientist’s wind instruments’ section. Welcome Home is the grand finale and because of the crowd's uncontrollable stomping, the Hammerstein Ballroom floor feels like it's in danger of collapsing under our feet. But everyone is too busy tonight singing along and fist-pumping in the air like it was 2003 to care. Claudio Sanchez has nothing to worry about: this might just continue to be reality for Coheed And Cambria for a lot longer.

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