Anberlin – The Final Tour Charlotte, NC – Review
Brian and I quickly depart from Gaffney after school lets out. We make a quick stop at a great Thai restaurant (which may soon become tradition) and brace the Friday night Charlotte traffic. This puts us at The Fillmore around 6:15. Rapidly hustling from the parking lot, we discern a large crowd gathered outside the venue. We wait almost an hour in the lovely freezing weather for one reason: Anberlin.
Brian and I slowly waddle our way into the Fillmore. We dart to the merch booth, already filled with adoring fans ready to purchase mementos for their last concert of a beloved band, for whom many have skeleton keys tattooed. We both grab the “Farewell Charlotte” shirt and take off to the exponentially growing crowd in hopes of getting a good view for potentially the most memorable show I have witnessed. Surrounded by the crowd of people and now wearing two shirts, the cold no longer is an issue. We painfully wait for the first act to begin.
The chandelier lights suddenly dim and ’68 take the stage. I have never been so confused with a band as I was with ’68. We are informed by the vocalist and guitarist that they are a duo, not a band. The vocals were spot-on punk, yet the music mixed prog rock with deep tones of hardcore. The combination should not work, yet it did. I was thoroughly impressed.
As their small set comes to an end, the crowd scrunched up into a mass horde of sweaty people who are also pondering ’68.
Next is the excruciating time waiting for Anberlin. Almost two thousand people begin the “I’m gonna get to the front!” procedure and make this period of waiting even worse.
Finally, all members arrive on stage and open up with “Paperthin Hymn,” a fan favorite that rallies the crowd together for a night filled with screaming, jumping, moshing, head banging, crowd surfing, and eventually tears of farewell. The band continues their set, moving flawlessly from album to album with great coherency.
The sixth song in surprises most of the crowd, as we were not expecting the electronic beats of “We Are Destroyer” to be played nor the mass chaos the crowd ensues as the high-octane chorus erupts.
If all we are is just what we want, then we are the destroyers!
Anberlin slows down for the masterpiece creation “Otherside.” It sends tears falling all around me and hands raised in surrender. This just shows the proof of how well Jesus and Rock go together. They continue with the daunting “(The Symphony of) Blasé,” sending chills up my spine with perfect harmonies. “Take Me as You Found Me” truly displays Stephen Christian’s vocal talent with notes that most people must scream to attempt to hit. Anberlin ended the lighter songs with “The Unwinding Cable Car,” a beautiful composition evoking more hand-raising. I must note that I have never been to a place with such a worshipful atmosphere and a man passed out drunk behind me at the same time…
Anberlin progresses to possibly the best break-up song ever, simply titled “Breaking,” after the electrifying “Impossible.” They pull out old favorites, “A Day Late” and “A Whisper and a Clamor,” much to my delight. Icing to the cake was “Dismantle.Repair.,” a climatic tune of which I wished I could have captured the intensity.
As I knew the night was coming to a close, I made a mental checklist of what Anberlin could pull out to satisfy fans with favorites spanning 12 years. It was clear that “The Resistance” was one of those songs. From the first scream of “Speak!,” I knew that the crowd was now fully enthralled in the show, as they may have also realized their time left was limited. Anberlin flew into fast-paced “Godspeed” with a phenomenal velocity. The crest of the tidal wave they had created was about to break.
No one could have guessed the insanity that took over as the first few chords of “Feel Good Drag” rang throughout the air. The massive wave crashed, sending seismic waves through the audience and causing mass jumping. I honestly believe that everyone in The Fillmore was in the air at some point during this song. “Feel Good Drag” was the first bite that got me hooked on Anberlin years ago. Thousands of people singing “This was over before, before it ever began. Your lips, your lies, your lust, like the Devil’s in your hands!” quickly turns into
One more song!
as the band exits.
I think we all knew that Anberlin would come out for one FINal song as a departure for 12 years of love. The beauty of the last song not only lies in its lyrics, melodies, and chords, but also in its name: “(*Fin)”– the Latin root for “end.” There could not have been a more perfect song to seal the night. The full effect set in. The final song of the final tour means “the end.” The acoustic start leads into the momentous burst of an angelic choir with
Patron Saint, are we all lost like you?
Frontman Stephen Christian belts out lyrics from Lowborn‘s”Harbringer,” letting us all know that
We’ll live together, forever, forever!
Then Anberlin walks off the stage, never to perform in Charlotte again. In that moment, I will admit, I cried. Tears of joy. Tears in remembrance of blaring Anberlin in my car. Tears for the end of a beautiful night with my awesome youth pastor. Tears for the end of a truly talented band.
Here is a link to the photos from that night: