Written by Steven Morgan

Filled with that nostalgic joy of pressing play on an album you'd forgotten you loved so much, the delicate falsetto of Travis Morrison's voice on the opening notes of A Life Of Possibilities destroyed any fears that this reunion would be a shambolic mess. Beaming smiles reflected in the audience as the song progressed to the whimsical guitar harmonies before the explosion of the middle eight sending the crowd into a frenzy. That's if you can even call it a middle eight? A chorus? Though undeniably accessible there was nothing predictable in the song structures of The Dismemberment Plan's back catalogue but playing to a crowd who already know every word to every track that's playing to them, the familiarity is on the par of a family reunion.

The Plan last reformed just three years prior and only broke up in 2003. Their split hardly sounded like one of fraught tensions within the band, merely four men whose priorities in life had changed and could no longer justify getting together to spend months on the road promoting the material they created. Despite this, with the last reformation of two shows for a charity benefit personal to the band, this time it's ten US dates and four in Japan on the back of a less emotional motive in the form of a limited edition vinyl release of their seminal album Emergency & I. Despite this, those in attendance are all too aware of how limited these reunions are to be, with parenthood, a drummer in NASA and living in different time zones being just the beginning of the problems of making this happen. Everyone dances as though it's the end of the world.


Travis Morrison is undoubtedly the focus on the stage. Centre front of the stage, interspersing conversational banter with the crowd with his own unique brand of dancing all draws you into his alternate view of how pop songs are supposed to be written. Whether scrawling a desperate melody in the noise induced rock of 'Memory Machine' or tipping his hat the his refreshingly irony free adoration of R&B and Hip-hop with the frantically paced 'The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich', he's an incredibly versatile frontman whose abundance of ideas threaten to spiral out of control if not anchored down with the incredible musicianship of the other three.

The set draws mainly from the latter two albums yet none of the tracks which populated their latter shows with the hints of the start of a fifth album come to light. This is a hits package and everyone knows it. Their set pieces from years gone by are in present and in attendance. OK, 'Joke's Over' is extended to include an alternate vocal verse cover of whatever Travis Morrison has been listening to lately. This time it's Willow Smith's 'Whip My Hair' which eventually transcends into 'Whip My Beard' following the theme of Travis's fascination with his own facial hair that he mentioned numerous times between the many songs of the evening. As many people from the crowd as can fit are crammed onto the stage for encore beginner 'The Ice Of Boston' before being sent back to where they came from so the band can launch into the sublime 'Following Through'. Some things never change.

As the band announce their last song for the evening, a perfect choice in 'The City' which reflects the loneliness and dejected despair living so close to so many but being so close to so few can inspire, there's not a soul in the room who doesn't want the night to continue ever onwards. After Seattle, the band say they've made no decision of what, if anything, happens next. I flew to New York with the sole purpose to catch this show. I couldn't risk missing them live. Worth every penny.