Just as Gibbard commanded the stage with Death Cab for Cutie at Red Rocks in recent years, the frontman turned in an equally compelling set with the Postal Service; his voice works notably well in both contexts. On "A Tattered Line of String," one of the newer cuts, Gibbard sounded surprisingly similar to the Pet Shop Boys' singer Neil Tennant, especially on the choruses.
Gibbard, meanwhile, had another bygone band on his mind. "This is the greatest band that ever lived," he said, before launching into Beat Happening's "Our Secret." With Lewis playing a tom-heavy beat and Tamborello adding laptop flourishes, the tune sounded somewhere between Velvet Underground and New Order, while still paying homage to the lo-fi original.
While the crowd ate up the band's hit "Such Great Heights" near the end of the set, "Natural Anthem," with its frenetic drums, packed much more of a visceral punch. Just before going into the Dntel cover of "(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan," Gibbard thanked a doctor in Salt Lake City for getting his voice treatment started and our own William "Buzz" Reifman in Denver for taking him over the finish line, and he dedicated the song to both of them.
The band closed out the night with "Brand New Colony," which Gibbard played drums on about halfway through the tune. Near the end of song, Lewis, Gibbard and Burhenn sang a cappella, "Everything will change, ooh, ooh" (save for a lone synth line) along with the crowd. As Gibbard thanked the audience once more before leaving the stage, his voice indeed sounded a bit scratchier than when he started, but it was still nowhere near Tom Waits.
Personal Bias: Kudos to Gibbard for motoring through the set although his voice might not have been top form.
Random Detail: Strangely enough, there were a few tie-dye shirts that seemed out of place among a sea of thick-framed glasses.
By the Way: New York's Ra Ra Riot, playing its first gig with the Postal Service, delivered an energetic and buoyant set culled from its last three albums.
The Postal Service Red Rocks Amphitheatre - 5/30/13 Morrison, CO
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight We Will Become Silhouettes Sleeping In Turn Around Nothing Better Recycled Air Be Still My Heart Clark Gable Our Secret (Beat Happening cover) This Place is a Prison There's Never Enough Time A Tattered Line of String Such Great Heights Natural Anthem
(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (Dntel cover) Brand New Colony