The War on Drugs performed a two-night run at the Palace Theater in St. Paul. Supporting their critically acclaimed album I Don’t Live Here Anymore, the Grammy Award winning rock band performed for nearly three hours straight.
Wearing their influences like a badge of honor, their sound felt heavily inspired by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, the latter being honored with a cover song. Their impressive soundscapes reminded me a lot of The Grateful Dead, as each song ended with a buildup of incredible lights and sound.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t very aware of the group before seeing them live. The first time I heard of them was during my freshmen year of college when they visited First Avenue in 2014.
Despite this performance being my first real exposure to the group, I was completely captivated. I went to this show with my high school best friend Luke, who in a lot of ways taught me how to love music.
Throughout The War on Drugs’ powerful set, Luke swayed and raised his hands in the air like he was worshipping at one of those big arena churches. As I looked around me, the audience felt like a community with groups of friends huddled in a circle and beers being raised in high in the air.
Due to the pandemic, photographers weren’t allowed in the photo pit. Despite having done this job for years, I’ve been without a proper zoom lens for longer than I care to admit. Making the best of a rough situation, I told myself: “Life is short. Take crappy photos.”
To me, this concert was a lesson in living in the moment. At other shows, I find myself hyper fixated on time; surprised that moments with my favorite bands end in a quick 60-90 minutes.
For fans of The War on Drugs, they got more than their money’s worth. As the night trailed on, there was no sign of fatigue from the crowd as they were enthralled by their memorable sound, loving every second of the show.
As I write this, I’ll own the fact that I am extremely tired. Regardless of that fact, I don’t regret spending my Wednesday night at Palace Theater with The War on Drugs.
If you get an opportunity to experience live music like this then jump on it. It’s always worth it.