It was a completely full house in the Marquee on Tuesday, September 11th, and everyone was in a celebratory mood, despite the historic date. Shortly before the 10 pm stage time, chants of “Passion Pit” began, and most of the capacity crowd joined in. The house lights flicked off, causing a roar, and purple lights from the sides of the stage glowed as frontman Michael Angelakos and the five other members that comprise Passion Pit walked out. Wearing an untucked dress shirt and tie, Angelakos screams, “Hands in the air! All the way in the back!” The vast majority of the crowd complies and the synth organ intro for “Take a Walk” starts the show.
Back in July, Angelakos stated on the band's website that several of the tour dates in support of Gossamer, released also in July, would be cancelled to allow him to deal with mental health issues. Rumors were spread that several of the recent Passion Pit shows were less than engaging and that Angelakos was often aloof and dispassionate during the performances. It was yet to be seen if he would be engaging for the full house in Tempe. During the chorus “Take a Walk” most of the crowd was jumping and thumping their hands for the chorus as Angelakos paced back and forth across the stage, yelping in his familiar falsetto.
As the song concluded, the crowd fell silent for just a moment until Angelakos screamed, “Hello, we're Passion Pit from Boston, Massachusetts!” causing another explosive cheer, and the keys intro for “The Reeling” immediately began. One of several of the more catchy songs in the Passion Pit catalogue that they performed on the Tuesday night, its call and response chorus supplied plenty of interaction between the animated frontman and the crowd. He thrusted the mic forward during the chorus and the audience answered with “Oh no!” as white lights from the rear of the stage spin their beams into the sea of people. The call and response sing-alongs would continue for the most of the night as Passion Pit stuck to the more catchy and danceable songs, pulling from all three of their releases.
There were three keys players scattered about the stage, two of whom alternately played the guitar. The bass player was to the right of Angelakos, who also sat down a couple times to play the keys, and the drummer was behind them. Pink and purple spotlights lit them up, casting shadows of the band members on the back wall that never stopped dancing along. About seven songs in, Angelakos broke from the excitement and stated somberly “We'd like to dedicate this song to all the families affected by 9/11” before the beginning riffs of “To Kingdom Come.” He bantered very little between songs otherwise, but seemed in full form with more falsetto yelps than the album versions of the songs and he never stood still. He was running and convulsing in the flashes of the strobe lights while joyfully shrieking the melodies. It was like watching a teenager spinning, singing and dancing in his bedroom. At the end of “Smile Upon Me” he even ran back to the drummer, picked up a pair of drum sticks and banged along in a flurry of strobe lights. If he was not at his best, he certainly didn't show it.
About an hour into the set, the beginning synth riffs of “Sleepyhead” sent the audience into a frenzy. Unbeknownst to the crowd, there were streamers set up to go off above the crowd on the first hit of the drums, and as they did, they set off a shriek and the dance party grew even more intense. More streamers shot off from the side of the stage at the start of the bridge, and the crowd was ecstatic. They finish and walk off stage, and the chants of “Passion Pit! Passion Pit!” come back and don't stop until they reappear.
As they came back out, Angelakos sat at the keys in the center of the stage for “Mirrored Sea” and it ended with him bending down as all the lights on the stage beamed on him. Immediately after, the synth lead intro for “Little Secrets” sent everyone screaming again. Although the band on stage was entertaining enough to watch, the most exciting part of the show was being in such an energetic crowd. The finale of the show was the sight of a thousand pairs of arms thumping and and the sound of people screaming “higher and higher and higher” in unison. Not only was Angelakos feeling the high of the moment, but so was everyone else.
Setlist: Take a Walk The Reeling Moth's Wings Better Things Let Your Love Grow Tall Carried Away To Kingdom Come Live to Tell the Tale Eyes as Candles Constant Conversations I'll Be Alright It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy Smile Upon Me Sleepyhead Encore: Mirrored Sea Little Secrets