Odesza Returns With Feast For The Senses at Seattle Tour Opener (SHOW REVIEW)

Odesza is back with an energetic vengeance that will likely see them continue to grow in justifiable popularity.    

After a three-year touring hiatus, the Seattle-based electronic duo of Clayton Knight and Harrison Mills have launched a tour on the back of their new album, The Last Goodbye. With a live show that will animate the legs of any but the most jaded cynic, their return in a new arena tour is not to be missed. 

Their first show of the tour, at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, featured openers ford. and Sylvan Esso, and an eclectic, enthusiastic crowd ready to go nuts and dance their tails off if given the expected provocation – and provocation Odesza provided. 

For the uninitiated, an Odesza show is a feast for the senses, an opportunity for ecstatic abandonment of the logical or self-conscious self to an intense barrage of light, sound, and movement. Odesza’s electronica spans a wide range of influences and integrates numerous live instruments and vocalists, as well as a mix of older samples and singers. Both the music and the live show center on rhythm, built around the Odesza drum line, which provides a pulsing, visually-engaging backbone to the show. 

Both Knight and Mills were clearly overjoyed to be back, and in front of a huge audience; the two began the show standing behind their samplers and drums, arms raised triumphantly, grins spread wide on their faces as the audience was treated to the calm sonic blanket of “This Version of You.” Then began the sensory barrage, with the band launching into “Behind the Sun,” the brilliant, gorgeous piece featuring samples of Simin Ghanem’s “I Want That Blue Sky.” The screens behind and on either side of the stage lit up with the recently-released video for the song, and within moments of its opening bars, the stage was full: the drum line of eight tightly-choreographed drummers hit the stage, flames flew, and the audience erupted. 

So went the show, with peaks and valleys of energy causing the crowd to pulse with excitement, dancing exuberantly one moment and then chilling the next. Odesza and the irrepressible drum line (and trumpet/trombone players, and occasional singers) flew through songs from across their catalog. The stage was a flurry of visually-engrossing change; the platforms upon which Knight and Mills stood changed with the screen backdrop, with videos flashing across all and tied to the pulse of the music. An endlessly-changing array of special effects kept the viewer overstimulated, with flames, fireworks, smoke, and lasers punctuating heavy bass drops or dramatic silences. The drummers changed costumes and their drums, lit from the inside, changed colors to match the overall theme of a given song. 

The show consisted of more than 90 minutes of music, spread across 25 songs. In addition to the drum line, live trumpet, and trombone, the show included “Better Now” and “Higher Ground,” both featuring Naomi Wild, as well as “Wide Awake” featuring Charlie Houston. Additionally, they took a few forays into their side project, Bronson, as well as playing a new song that seemed to dig into darker territory than is their norm (with accompanying imagery of a wolf and a strange, monster-like humanoid apparition).

If the last two-plus years of pandemic living have done anything, they have reminded people of the amazing, ephemeral emotional release made possible by live music. While this reviewer will be beyond overjoyed when the pandemic truly recedes, the wait for Odesza’s live show was more than worth the wait. They are truly at the top of the game, a fact much in evidence in the sea of joyous faces eagerly engulfed in the Odesza sonic journey. 

ODESZA Setlist Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, WA, USA 2022, The Last Goodbye

 

 

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