Last year, Ben Gibbard had a big moment coming up. The album “Transatlanticism” by his band Death Cab for Cutie was about to turn 20 in 2023. At the same time, another album called “Give Up” that Ben made with his friend Jimmy Tamborello as The Postal Service was also hitting its 20-year mark.
Ben’s management team had an idea: they thought it would be cool for each band to have their own separate 20th-anniversary tours. But Ben had a different idea, and it was a bit like hitting two birds with one stone.
Ben Gibbard’s Bold Tour Vision: Rocking Two Decades of Indie Hits Together
“I thought to myself, ‘People are going to go crazy if we put these two tours together,'” Ben chuckles. “And you know what? The response we got and the number of tickets we sold really proved that I was onto something!”
So, get ready for the ultimate nostalgia fest! The joint Give Up/Transatlanticism tour is getting ready to roll. Starting from September 5th, these iconic indie albums will be rocking arenas and theaters. They’re hitting some big spots too, like New York’s Madison Square Garden, and even Ben’s hometown with gigs at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena.
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And get this, they’ve added more dates, now totaling 31 shows instead of the original 17 they announced back in December. Ben is going to be quite the busy bee, doing double duty—singing all of Transatlanticism with Death Cab, and then belting out all the tunes from Give Up with Jimmy Tamborello and Jenny Lewis (who sang backup on six tracks).
For Ben, this tour is like stepping back into the most important year of his career. Back in 1997, Death Cab came to life. But things got a bit shaky in 2001 when they were running around like crazy touring and recording. So, they took a breather.
This break gave Ben, who was just 25 at the time, a chance to create the magic of Transatlanticism. And hey, he also teamed up with Tamborello to do a side project that was super indie-pop. They sent music back and forth by mailing each other CD-Rs (that’s where The Postal Service got its name).
“It was like suddenly I had all this time to wander around in the world of creativity,” reflects Ben, who’s now 47 and still has that twinkle of confidence and a dash of cockiness. “I felt so sure of myself, maybe even a tad overconfident. I could just let my music wander and explore, and wow, was that a fruitful time.”
Give Up became a cult favorite, loved by bloggers everywhere. Transatlanticism, on the other hand, catapulted Death Cab from “indie-rock cool” to “mainstream cool,” as Ben describes it. Though Transatlanticism peaked at No.
97 and Give Up at No. 45 on the Billboard 200 charts, they’ve raked in quite the numbers: 1.1 million and 1.8 million equivalent album units, respectively. (Fancy speak for they’ve sold a lot of albums!)
Looking back, Ben is pretty darn thankful that his big break with these albums happened about five years into his musical journey. “By that point, we had been through some really tough times together and made it through to the other side,” he says. “Honestly, I can’t be sure, but if things were like they are now—bands releasing three-song EPs and becoming overnight sensations—well, I’m not sure we would’ve survived that.”
While Death Cab was recently on the road supporting their 10th album, “Asphalt Meadows,” the upcoming tour is a special one for The Postal Service. It’s their first time on stage in a whole decade since Give Up hit the double-digit age. For Ben, these Postal Service shows are going to be a tad different.
Unlike in 2013, this time they’re going to play Give Up in the exact order it appears on the album, no extra songs or covers thrown in. But one thing remains unchanged—getting up there with Jimmy Tamborello and Jenny Lewis, his two best buddies, is going to be an absolute blast.
“These two are like family to me, and now I get to hang out with them for a good while on this tour,” Ben grins. “We’re not just celebrating an album that became a massive indie rock moment, but we’re also just celebrating our friendship. It’s going to be a heck of a ride!”
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