Cake make the Wang their ‘Showroom’

A review of Cake at the Citi Wang Theatre on April 22, 2011

, Managing Editor

There’s something about rock shows being played in a theater that always seems to throw off the vibe. Cake’s show at the Wang on Friday was no exception. Both the band and the fans fell victim to the theater atmosphere, but were able to work around it for an entertaining two and a half hour affair.

When the alt rock vets took the stage at 8:15, they stood before a theater of seated fans (and more still filing in). It took until the third song in the set, “Long Time”, off their latest release, Showroom of Compassion, for the audience to loosen up and get on their feet.

Billed as “An Evening with Cake”, the band “opened for themselves” as singer John McCrae put it. Perhaps with that idea in mind, plus the fact that they were playing in a theater, the band decided to take a twenty-minute intermission a little over an hour into the show. The stoppage was certainly a momentum killer, especially after closing the first set with the interactive combination of “Sheep Go to Heaven” and “Sick of You”, but at least fans got to see one hell of an “opening band”.

Cake did all the showcasing of the new album in the first set, except for “Federal Funding”, which ended the break, and drew the audience back out of their seats. Fans would soon start swaying to the slow groove of “Mexico” but picked things right back up again with “Love You Madly”.

Changing of pace was a common occurrence on Friday night… Good Friday that is. After the rousing, “not meant to be blasphemous” sing-along of “Satan is My Motor”, the band paused again as McCrae gave away the tiny tree that had been positioned to his left on their simple stage setup. The bandleader led a bit of a trivia contest regarding the type of tree that the prize was (Apple), and then used his trademark wit to liven up the unexpectedly extensive process that giving away the tree turned out to be. After going over the stipulations and cracking jokes about the winner’s intentions with his married date, the band got back to business with “Stickshifts and Safetybelts”, with McCrae joking “ok, enough of the environmental crap”.

After taking off once more following “Never There”, the band returned to deliver their two biggest hits, “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” and “The Distance”, which sandwiched the Fashion Nugget track “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps”.

Although they took a few time outs throughout the night, with an upcoming break in their touring, Cake’s fulfilling set showed that they hadn’t packed things in just yet. Now in their twentieth year together, Cake is still a band with something to say and people who still want to hear it, as evidenced by the #1 debut of Showroom. Just like the positive reception of their latest effort in the studio, their mix of hits, wit, and everything else, showed that their live act has not gone stale either.

Setlist
1. Sad Songs and Waltzes
2. Opera Singer
3. Long Time
4. Frank Sinatra
5. Shadow Stabbing
6. Bound Away
7. Mustache Man
8. Wheels
9. Rock ‘N’ Roll Lifestyle
10. Comanche
11. Sheep Go to Heaven
12. Sick of You
Second Set
13. Federal Funding
14. Mexico
15. Love You Madly
16. Guitar
17. Satan Is My Motor
18. Stickshifts and Safetybelts
19. Jolene
20. Never There
Encore
21. Short Skirt Long Jacket
22. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
23. The Distance

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