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'Everything Will Change' Gives The Postal Service a Fitting Concert Documentary

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

We caught the dually nostalgic and current documentary at a screening in Times Square this weekend.

'Everything Will Change' Gives The Postal Service a Fitting Concert Documentary

In one of the earliest scenes of Everything Will Change, the concert film/documentary about The Postal Service's reunion tour in 2013, band members Ben Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello and Jenny Lewis note that there really isn't any concert footage out there. The band only toured their lone album, Give Up, once. That was back when taping at concerts wasn't the norm. With Everything Will Change, the band has certainly achieved a concert film worthy of their status in the pop culture lexicon.

The film opens up with small talking head bits of several fans waiting to see the band at the famed Greek Theater in Los Angeles (where the concert footage was taken from). Every person has a different relationship or experience with the band, which is usually the case with any fan finding music. But these relationships are something that is especially interesting about this group. The Postal Service was a project that Gibbard took on in between touring with Death Cab for Cutie when he started collaborating with Tamborello. The two enjoyed working together, and when Gibbard brought Lewis into the mix things really started to flesh out. The group recorded just one album, 2003's Give Up, toured it a little but during that same year, and that was basically it.

Because everyone's normal projects picked up again, the band, in a sense, stopped being. But the album really began to get traction in the years following the tour. More and more people started finding it, discovering it buying it. Here was this fantastic album, with thousands of new fans, that didn't really have a tangible band anymore. The dynamic was interesting on both sides. The fans discovered this thing not knowing if they would ever see it live, and the artists created it before the mass surge and never really tangibly saw how their music impacted people. My personal relationship with the band's music is exactly like this. It was an incredibly meaningful album to me, but I never knew if I'd be able to catch this group live.

The 10-year anniversary of Give Up gave the group an opportunity to get back together and bring their music to the fans that wanted to see it. Watching the performance, which was beautifully shot and received great direction from Justin Mitchell, I was brought back to when I saw the group at Lollapalooza last summer. It was the band's second-to-last performance ever, and the whole thing did really mimic a communal type experience for the audience on hand. Everyone had visceral reactions to the dazzling light displays. When the crowd screamed for Jenny Lewis in the film, I remember my crowd in Chicago doing the exact same thing. Same goes for Tamborello when he chimed in on "Sleeping In". If you were able to see them live, this was a great way to not only relive all the beats from that wonderful show, but to see the unified response this show gave to a rather disconnected group of fans. 

If you're looking for something that probes deep into this band, or would-be band, you won't find it. While the members do reveal some nice fun facts about the band's origins, the creative processes and the mindsets on the reunion tour, it didn't really ask about the untapped potential of the group. Sure it was mentioned a few times off hand, but the topic never got its full due. Maybe it's because the answer is too obvious: Death Cab For Cutie likely required too much commitment for Gibbard to take time away, same for Lewis with Rilo Kiley. But hearing their thoughts on the potential, why they never tried to make another album, if there were any rumblings of it, would have been interesting to me and many others.

But as it stands, Everything Will Change is an excellent concert documentary that showcases one heck of a reunion. When the group has everyone in the venue screaming those three titular words during the ending of the track "Brand New Colony", whether you were there or not, it reminds you of the impact this album had.

On November 24th, the album Give Up will be available for the first time as a single vinyl LP. Preorders for both the Everything Will Change DVD/Blu-ray and the Give Up single-LP are now available at the Sub Pop Mega Mart and Amazon.com. If you get a chance, see this documentary.

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