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Going into last night, I had never been more pumped for a concert. Sure, it wasn’t Jay-Z and Eminem at new Yankee Stadium, or Pearl Jam at the Garden. But it was my favorite band, Death Cab For Cutie, playing an outdoor venue in Brooklyn in the summer, and I was pumped.

A couple months ago, I was resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t get to see Death Cab when they came to town. I tried to navigate Ticketmaster.com in the precious few moments when tickets were still available for their Manhattan show, from about 12 noon to 12:15 on a Saturday in the spring, but had no luck. So when they announced they were sticking around to play at the Williamsburg Waterfront on a Tuesday night in August, I was there.

It didn’t matter that I hadn’t actually heard of the Williamsburg Waterfront before, or that the tickets were a little more than I wanted to spend—$50 apiece after Ticketmaster’s generous processing fees—or that I usually play softball on Tuesday nights. The second I emerged from the Bedford Avenue L stop, I knew I’d made the right decision.

New Yorkers are quick to label any 20s or 30s Brooklyn resident a hipster, which is only true some of the time. But as I spun myself in circles trying to figure out which way the East River was, I felt a great vibe. Lots of shorts and dark rimmed glasses and flip flips and fedoras and tattoo sleeves. My kind of people.

Taking the advice of a fellow Yelper, I stopped in at Teddy’s Bar and Grill to wait for my girlfriend and take advantage of their terrific happy hour, $1 pints of Bud or Bud Light. The doors at the Williamsburg Waterfront were scheduled to open at 5:30, and I had read online that the opening act, Frightened Rabbit, would start around 6 and Death Cab For Cutie wouldn’t take the stage until after 8.

Having never been to Teddy’s, it had the feel of a neighborhood bar. While I drank my first pint, the guy next to me shamelessly asked me to remind him how to spell the word “brief” for a text he was composing. Once he left, I eavesdropped on the bartender’s braggadocio as he assured two female patrons that he could make any cocktail they wanted, because he was a “Manhattan bartender.” Meanwhile two older gentlemen lamented their poor decision to stop in on a Tuesday night, remembering too late that we concert goers would take up all the good seats at the bar.

My girlfriend arrived as I was finishing my first pint, and we chatted about each of our days at work and tried to keep our cool among the hipsters over how excited we (mostly me) were for the show. I quizzed her on her favorite songs from the two Death Cab albums I put on her iPod (Plans and Narrow Stairs) and we filled up on the cheap beer, anticipating the considerably higher prices for Brooklyn Lager ($6 for a 12 oz cup) we’d be paying later at the concert.

After ordering the last of our three rounds of Bud Light, I hit the bathroom. I struck up a conversation with a couple of guys waiting on the line with me and we discovered we were all going to the concert. A local overheard us talking and interrupted to tell us that typically the headliners during the Tuesday night Williamsburg Waterfront concerts don’t get on until after 8, but that “Death Cab seems to have their shit together, so they’ll probably start around 7:45.” I checked my phone: it was 7:32.

I finished in the bathroom and hustled back to the bar. We chugged the rest of our pints and jogged the three blocks from the bar to the Williamsburg Waterfront and entered the gates. Death Cab was already on stage and in the middle of “I Will Possess Your Heart.” I was disappointed that I had missed the band take the stage (I found the set list online the next day and it turns out we hadn’t actually missed any songs), but I was still giddy as we slipped through the crowd to find an open spot to stand. (Also, we ran into this guy.)

A few fellow Death Cab fans had told me the band puts on a great live show, and they were right. Despite little in the way of visual effects, nothing more than four low-tech LCD screens blinking lazily in purple, orange, and green behind the band, the music was great. After a few songs, lead singer Ben Gibbard stopped playing and asked the crowd to turn around to take in the sunset behind the Manhattan skyline and tell us “what a beautiful city you have.” It didn’t surprise me one bit that Ben Gibbard, as gifted a songwriter as he is, would pause his own concert to appreciate a perfect moment like that.

My friend Nikki had been to the show the night before in Boston and said Death Cab played a two hour set there. As they jumped around from album to album, they had played 20 songs when Ben thanked the crowd and told us to “get home safe” around 9:10. I’m not a huge concert guy but I knew enough to anticipate their encore a few minutes later. They re-opened with “Home is a Fire” off their latest album, Codes and Keys, then two of my favorites, “Title and Registration” and “The Sound of Settling,” before ending with “Transatlanticism” as the crowd chanted “I need you so much closer…” in unison over and over again.

When I woke up the next morning, I still had “Transatlanticism” stuck in my head, along with a crumpled orange souvenir t-shirt ($25) and a few Facebook photos my girlfriend had posted. And at the risk of “PH-ing” the experience, I’ll say it was easily the best concert I’ve ever been to.

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