Some concerts are better in the sun (Michael Franti & Spearhead), some are better in rain (Panic! At The Disco), some are better with a bigger audience (The Fray), and some are just better inside, in a dingy club that smells like beer, sweat, and some unidentifiable floor cleaning solution (Passion Pit).
The first time I saw Passion Pit (June 2010), I had secured a spot on the second step up from the 'mosh pit' and was surrounded by people who never stopped dancing and singing along. The atmosphere was as great as it can be when that many people are shoved together into one room and, honestly, Passion Pit is a lot better when you are forced to sway along with the crowd and Michael Angelakos is only ten feet away; I love outdoor concerts, but there is just something about being forced to dance and having the band be a part of the crowd that you cannot duplicate at an outside or amphitheater concert. At that first concert, you knew everyone was there to see Passion Pit (although I was, admittedly, a little more excited for the opening act; Tokyo Police Club), and they were all so excited that they could not contain themselves. The band was adorable and talked with the crowd, had the audience dancing along with the band, and Michael Angelakos even jumped down into the crowd during a song (not crowd surfing, literally jumping down into, and joining, the crowd). I have no clue what they opened with, only that it was amazing and sucked me in. I do know, that "Little Secrets" is one of the best live performances I have been in, "Moth's Wings" would not have been as good had they not dropped round white confetti (made to fall like moth's wings; how cheesily poetic, and slightly great) during the performance, "The Reeling" and "Eyes As Candles" are best when you can feel the bass in your chest and you don't even notice that you have someone else's beer all over your favorite Converse, their cover of "Dreams" is a great last song, and "Sleepyhead," beginning with the 'stripped down' version, is the best encore song. Ever. I truly adored Passion Pit the first time I saw them, and was so excited to see them again.
The second time I saw them, they were playing at a music festival, and no one showed up until Passion Pit had even begun to perform (which was fine by me because I got front 'row' seats for LP and, subsequently, Passion Pit, but it's still disrespectful to just barge in on the end of someone's performance because they are not well known, yet). The performance itself was still great, they are a great band, but it was just, different. There was a clear separation between the stage and the 'viewing area', a clear distinction between the band members and the audience, and the fans themselves were different (they were impatient and inconsiderate; when you go to a concert, you're not cool, anyone can go to a concert. Shut your mouth because the band will come on when they are prepared. Complaining about the band being on time, rather than early, then turning around and acting like you're their biggest fan only makes you an asshole). They did all their big songs like "Moth's Wings," "Sleepyhead," and "Let Your Love Grow Tall," along with a few of the songs off their new album ("Take A Walk" and "Carried Away"); the only problem with this was that their new album had not been released yet. (Side note/ back-story time!: My friend and I saw Foxy Shazam opening for a band two summers ago, and they were really fucking cool; the trumpet player threw his instrument into the air (like, ten feet up-crazy) and caught it during a song, then continued to play like it was normal, and the pianist was standing on his keyboard, just stomping on it. After hearing Eric Sean Nally explain that this was his first show since getting out of jail for killing his neighbor's dog, we were kind of afraid to be caught not singing along. Before the concert, my friend was worried that they would not be able to sing along to all the words and I assured them that, if you just said "banana," it would look like you were saying the lyrics. When we got to the concert and realized Nally bordered on insane, we began dancing really enthusiastically and mouthing banana, as their biggest fan (some great middle aged man) screamed and cheered in front of us). So when Passion Pit began playing songs from an album that had yet to be released (though it appeared that every hipster in that crowd knew the lyrics by heart), my friend and I looked at each other, then began our enthusiastic dancing and banana chanting. The concert, thankfully, ended with a song we knew ("Little Secrets") because, as much fun as it is to just dance around, it's more fun to know the lyrics and sing along to a great song. Aside from my friend and I looking like assholes (but fun-loving assholes) for a few songs, the concert just was not as great as the first one. The band themselves were different; is this front guy in a suit and tie, stalking across the stage, the same one who was wearing a shirt and jeans that kept bending down to the crowd a few years ago? Their songs were the same, the crowd was still excited, the band still did a great job, it was just a different feeling; like the band's attitude on performing might have changed a bit.
Regardless, Passion Pit is a great band, and I am hoping that they were just having an off night, rather than letting the fame change them. The band is still great though, and their new album (Gossamer) might actually be better than their earlier one (Manners), so don't write them off just because I said they weren't stellar on audience involvement at one outside concert; they are kind of fantastic.
A picture from that first concert: And second concert: