Sunset Boulevard played host for Coheed and Cambria to preform their third album, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear through the Eyes of Madness, in its entirety at the Hollywood Palladium Saturday night. The concert hall is just one stop on a tour to reinvigorate the passion felt for Coheed’s biggest selling record to date. Released in 2005, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One garnered them the most attention for their distinct mix of prog-rock, emo and post-hardcore. The album struck a great balance that dominated the ears of geeky emo kids of last decade, such as yours truly.
Twelve seems like an odd number to celebrate, but given that the band’s previous effort, The Color Before the Sun, was released in 2015, the timing was just unfortunate. Coheed and Cambria were intent on bringing this tour to fruition, regardless if it follows the ten year anniversary trend or not. This album was as significant to them as it was to fans like me, a blog writer with dreams of having an episodic saga of books that are as beloved as front-man Claudio Sanchez’s Amory Wars series. Having attended the ten year anniversary show for In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (missed the Second Stage Turbine Blade show, I was poor), I highly anticipated this performance as both records were significant to me at that age, and these kind of events are for celebrating the impact albums like these have on fans. Part of that celebration is a reflection of where we were when we first heard these albums. I was a bored teen writing poorly articulated album and show reviews on his Myspace blog. Now, its twelve years later and… well, it’s not Myspace anymore, at least.
Joining Coheed and Cambria on this tour is the Dear Hunter, who delivered a solid forty-five minutes of eclectic prog-rock that appropriately charged the crowd of anxious Coheed fans. Were I not so hyped for the main event, I could have gone for way more of The Dear Hunter. However, we could wait no longer.
Recounting the show, a lot of your typical concert annoyances were present, including: Guys over 6’ crowding the front, dudes getting heated over overzealous Moshers, drunk girls dancing sloppily into every asset of your personal space and, the Coup de grace, getting beer split all over me at the beginning of “Ten Speed”. Of all the concerts I’ve been too, you could argue this was one of my worst experiences, but none of that mattered once “Keeping the Blade” started.
The visual presentation coinciding with the performance was particularly stunning for this evening, as is to be expected with a band like Coheed and Cambria. The image of a skull bleeding blackness from its eye sockets was one of the many reoccurring motifs that created a stark, surreal atmosphere that enhanced the fury that Claudio and crew were unleashing. Hearing tracks like “Welcome Home” and “Apollo I: The Writing Writer” along with this abstract, bleak imagery reminded me of hearing this album for the first time in 2005 and reading the graphic novel a year later (borrowed copy).
The Meta narrative of a writer becoming delusion and clashing with his own characters was a unique perspective that set Good Apollo apart from the narrative of its predecessors, and many other concept albums for that matter. Coupled with its graphic novel, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One was something special when it first came out and the energy felt in that ballroom on Saturday night meant that feeling was still there. Through many of their peers of that era have disbanded and moved on to other projects, Coheed and Cambria are still here and poised to remind you of what made them stand out to begin with.