Death Cab Do-Over!

Loyal readers may recall last September's post in which Natalie, Simon, and I were lightninged out of a Death Cab for Cutie concert. An unusually powerful storm pummeled the Seattle area that night. We concluded, logically, that the bolts of fire raining down from the heavens were thrown by Thor himself because, being an old god, he hates loud rock-n-roll music. It's a bit ironic, don't you think? The guy who delivers deafening cracks of thunder is annoyed by awesome music. He must be a cranky god.

A week later, the band announced three back-to-back February 2020 shows at Seattle's historic Showbox at Pike Place Market. In Death Cab style, tickets were offered first to showgoers of the concert interrupted by Thor.

That's the recap!

Now, pop open a bottle of ice-cold Rainier Beer because it's time for a Death Cab do-over!

And to ensure your readability fun, this trip review is being delivered via the ever-popular picture-n-caption format.

Let's begin, shall we?

Our approach to Seattle featured views of the Cascade's volcanoes from Mt. Rainier to central Oregon's Sisters. Pictured here is detail of Rainier's east slope. Did you know Mt. Rainier last erupted in 1894? It did!

Oh, how I long for the good old days when women were systematically objectified ... such as stewardesses! What's wrong with miniskirts, go-go boots, and little blue caps? That's just commonsense attire! At least mannequins have not suffered the same fate.

The Link light-rail and the No. 44 bus was a super-efficient way to move from SEA-TAC to our destination in Seattle's Ballard area. Cost per person? $5.75! Pictured here is the Old Rainier Brewery from the light-rail. Did you know Rainier Beer is currently brewed in California? CALIFORNIA? And did you know Rainier Beer was a sponsor of the 1963 American expedition to Mt. Everest? It was! ... along with the American Tobacco Company ... the WHAT?

Well whaddayaknow! It's Jim Whittaker sporting a refreshing can of Rainier Beer! In 1963, Jim became the first American to summit Mt. Everest. I think we can all agree, there's nothing like an ice-cold beer at 29,029 feet in gale-force winds, grueling subzero temperatures, and air containing just 30% of the oxygen you'd have at sea level.

Speaking of oxygen, the American Tobacco Company donated 6,000 cigarettes to the expedition, but the climbers thought they were getting 60,000. Either way, that's a lot of butts and an odd high-altitude breathtaking adventure! Yes, every inch a real smoke ... and comfortably smooth too! Those in the know ... go for Camel.

Our concert evening began with a walk from Simon's Capitol Hill apartment to city center. The Seattle Times says Capitol Hill is "Pretty much Seattle's capital of everything cool." I'm not sure my Ballard-based brother would agree, but Cap Hill does have cool street art here and there. So take THAT, Ballard!

Seattle is known as an unconventional city with its caffeine-charged coffee and craft beer culture; it's also an epicenter of all things tech-y and airplane-y. But less known is its pioneering use of promotional posters as utility poles!

Completed in 1977, the 514-foot Rainier Tower -- referred to by locals as the "Beaver Building" or alternately the "Golf Tee Building" because of its unusual concrete pedestal -- has a new neighbor! Nearly completed, and topping out at 850 feet, the new Rainier Square Tower is Rainier Tower's new best friend, though it seems like the naming committee phoned this one in.

Pre-concert Getting your Brit on! at Elephant & Castle. The E&C serves authentic English pub grub, shows football matches on the big screen, and has a proper "billiard room with darts" ... which is an odd twist on billiards, but the Brits do things like that, like voting themselves out of the EU. I'm glad we've never been THAT crazy.

Pike Place Market is always a favorite, especially at sunset, and it turned out the concert venue -- The Showbox -- was just around the corner from this fish-flinging tourist stop. The market was established in 1907 and its signature neon sign and clock were added in 1937. But did you know a startup coffee company opened its first store at the Market in 1971? Yes! Starbucks did! But they didn't sell brewed coffee at the time, just the roasted beans. And it's still there, along with 450 other Starbucks stores located within 300 feet.

Nearly everyone who's anyone has played the Showbox. Founded in 1939, the venue has hosted musicians from Duke Ellington to The Ramones to Katy Perry. And then there was the infamous three-night engagement of Boise's own alt-rock fame band Built To Spill in 2003. Did you know that another Boise band -- Draw -- was the opening band for BTS? It WAS! And do you know who the drummer for Draw was? Yep! That would be me. Someday MY name will be on that mirror too ... as soon as I etch it in with a pocket knife!  

Our view from sit-down seats (a real premium at the Showbox) was ideal, and Death Cab's performance was phenomenal. Perfect sound and their no-nonsense approach to delivering really great music made this do-over trip well worth it.

You may think that this is a doctored photo, or even a mistake. But you'd be wrong. This is actual undiscovered photographic evidence that minds are blown away by Death Cab for Cutie's music. Cutie concert goers eventually recover, but their lives are never quite the same ... they hum and smile incessantly.

Yeah, there's one aspect of Seattle (and too many other cities) that sucks -- people without places to call home.

After the show we wandered into a quiet pub at Pike Place Market for a post-concert drink and snack. Just across the street was Showgirls! I'm not sure No Experience Necessary! delivers the right message, do you? Other titillating tidbits flashing on the screen included Sexperts on Duty!, VP Rooms Available!, and Amateur Night Every Thursday! Now that's good clean fun for the entire family! No experience necessary!

QUESTION: What travel blog post is complete without a plane's wing and clouds?

ANSWER: No travel blog post ever!

Still, the point during ascent and descent when flying through the puffy clouds is always a bonus.

Another bonus of flight, if you take the time, is observing and determining where you are at any given point. This was an easy one because the route was familiar ... looking north into the Snake River canyon near Huntington, Oregon. Further north and just out of frame, Hells Canyon, North America's deepest river gorge at 7,993 feet from top to bottom! 


And so it was ... 

A do-over concert that delivered the goods. If you're wondering about sampling Death Cab for Cutie, I recommend their most recent album, Thank You For Today; it's why the word awesome was created. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure even Thor would like it. He'd like it so much that he'd go crazy throwing bolts of fire to and fro ... and ... nope ... on second thought, don't tell Thor about the album.

Stay tuned for more from touralongwithtodd...

Until then... Ciao!


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  1. That's why I found climbing so hard: Wasn't smoking enough cigarettes. I think I drank enough beer, though.
    Hope you didn't have any microscopic stowaways on the way home.

    John S

  2. No sign of any microscopic stowaways! I'm glad we got to see this show. Our music festival - Treefort - has just been postponed to September.... What an interesting time we're in...

  3. This entire site is wonderful, congratulations! Your photos are phenomenal. This is a great and fun read. BTW, I thought I was the only Moscowite who has heard of Built to Spill. I love that others have been exposed to them 💙 Sounds like the Show Box is the place to go in Seattle.

  4. Thanks Marcia! I appreciate that. Built To Spill is a mainstay on my playlist - and touring as the opening act on a "21-shows in 22-days" with Doug and the band in 2003 was an crazy good experience. The end of that tour was a three-night run at the Show Box, so seeing Death Cab there was fun. Yes, it's a prime venue in downtown Seattle.