LIVE: Coheed & Cambria @ KOKO, London

By Christopher Lee

Mighty New York progressive rock heroes Coheed & Cambria return to London to play their legendary album ‘Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness’ in full to a sold out KOKO some 12 years after its original release.

For anyone who’s loved this album since 2005, the announcement of these shows will have been a dream come true. Admittedly, Coheed & Cambria have put out some incredible records but this is arguably their best work, and nights like these are rare to say the least. The army of adoring fans in attendance are in fine form from the get go as the beautiful violins of intro ‘Keeping the Blade’ play over the PA. Their wonderful singing voices are in full effect as they join Claudio Sanchez in a rendition of ‘Always & Never’.

Following this beautiful start to the evening, a huge roar goes up as the first acoustic notes of ‘Welcome Home’ are struck before the rest of the band lend their instruments and instigate a wave of head banging through the packed venue. Vocally, Sanchez is as powerful yet intimate as ever while the band handle the hugely technical tracks with a mastery some bands can only hope to achieve in their careers.

The whole evening has an incredibly close and intimate feel to it as the crowd take superbly to their singing parts of each track throughout the album. Sanchez and Travis Stever switch back and forth between lead and rhythm guitar like a pair of well-oiled machines to produce a sound as perfect as the day the album was recorded; Sanchez even employs the use of a twin necked guitar, which always looks incredible on stage.

As the set progresses, there’s a sense that tonight really is one of those nights that fans of the band and newcomers alike will remember for a very, very long time to come. And, arguably more importantly, the band themselves seem to be enjoying performing this album even more than they ever have. There’s not much chat from the guys but when they’re playing through an album that’s this good, there really isn’t much need for it.

As they complete their masterful performance, there’s even time for a small encore of three tracks not from this album. But these pale in comparison to what the crowd have just been treated to. Tonight has been an emotional evening for everyone and has seemingly brought every single person here tonight together in unison to celebrate the excellence of Coheed & Cambria. In return. the band have provided a performance of unparalleled passion, transporting everyone back some 12 years to the day this incredible album was unleashed on the world. If other bands are planning on playing albums in full for a show, this is the benchmark they should be aiming for.