Since 2007, according to my last.fm profile, I've listened to The Beatles 4,404 times, Death Cab For Cutie 1,118 times, Paul McCartney 1,002 times, and CAKE 948 times.
I've been listening to CAKE off and on since "The Distance" came out when I was in 5th grade in 1996. Of all the bands I still listen to, they're the band I've been listening to the longest. CAKE is an essential part of my life, musically and in general. I love them
In 2007, I wanted to see CAKE, but they were only playing select cities; the closest one was in Kansas City, which was sold out. Since their last full-length came out six years ago (2004), I figured my chances of seeing them were zero. I can't see The Beatles, but I had seen Paul. I had seen Death Cab (twice). I had never seen CAKE though, and figured I never would.
In October 2010, I found out CAKE was coming out with a new album, "Showroom of Compassion", on 1/11/11, and therefore, touring. I bought tickets, and on December 15th, 2010 at The Pageant in STL, I finally got to see CAKE! I went with my good friend Alex Stewart. We've also seen The Decemberists (twice), The Format, Bright Eyes (twice), Hellogoodbye, Of Montreal, and Death Cab together.
CAKE played for about two hours, there was no opening band, and they plowed through a lot of songs; I definitely got my money's worth.
About half-way through, there was an intermission, but before the intermission, they barely played any "hits". I was pleased that they weren't afraid to play whatever, but the crowd didn't seem to share my enthusiasm. People were mostly just standing there and not singing. During the intermission, I moved to almost the front of the floor area, and way later in the show, after a lady moved, I made it all the way to the rail in front of the stage.
I made a setlist during the show, and with the help of this site, I filled in some of the holes
1. Comfort Eagle - Comfort Eagle
2. Sad Songs and Waltzes - Fashion Nugget
3. Arco Arena - Comfort Eagle
4. Frank Sinatra - Fashion Nugget
5. Long Time - Showroom of Compassion
6. Mustache Man - Showroom of Compassion
7. Bound Away - Showroom of Compassion
8. Shadow Stabbing - Comfort Eagle
9. Ruby Sees All - Motorcade of Generosity
10. Wheels - Pressure Chief
At some point, John McCrea made the announcement they don't play with a setlist. He explained that this is so they can play, essentially, the right song for the given moment. I was impressed that they just know all of their songs and can play them at will, especially since they have so many and some of them were written 16 or more years ago.
After the crowd was kinda lame during the first half, and while the band was taking an intermission, I was speculating how the band would react, especially since John said they play the best song for our benefit or whatever. I wondered if they would play "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" to get the crowd back into it. I was making fun of the crowd to Alex, and talking about how they only wanted to hear "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" and "The Distance". I was saying, wouldn't it be weird if they came out and played "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" backed with "The Distance" and a bunch of people left, or what if CAKE decided to play "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" right away and make everyone suffer for the rest of the show since "their song" was over.
11. Short Skirt/Long Jacket - Comfort Eagle (yep)
12. Stickshifts and Safety Belts - Fashion Nugget
13. Love You Madly - Comfort Eagle
14. Haze of Love - Motorcade of Generosity
15. Guitar - Prolonging the Magic
16. Never There - Prolonging the Magic
17. Federal Funding - Showroom of Compassion
18. Sick of You - Showroom of Compassion
19. The Distance - Fashion Nugget
Overall, I was pleased. I really like almost every CAKE song I've ever heard, so it wouldn't have mattered if they played any of my "favorites" or not, because they're all my favorites, essentially. That said, I had a sort of mental wishlist, and when it comes down to it, they really only played three or four of them..
First tier wishes (in no particular order)
Stickshifts and Safetybelts (check), Never There (check), Guitar (check), Sheep Go To Heaven, Dime, Carbon Monoxide, End of the Movie, Let Me Go, I Will Survive
Second tier wishes (in no particular order)
Mr. Mastodon Farm, Let Me Go, Satan Is My Motor, Mexico, You Turn the Screws, Walk On By, Love You Madly (check), Wheels (check), Take It All Away, Waiting, Palm of You Hand, Tougher Than It Is, Baskets
So that's at least 17 songs they didn't play that I wanted them to, and they only played 19 total. They basically could have played an entirely separate set of just songs I requested. Granted, they are releasing a new album (which they played five songs from, and which none of my wishlist comes from), and I realize you aren't going to get every song you want at a live show, but I feel like, since I like essentially all of their songs anyway, I am allowed to complain.
Final Score: A-
It was CAKE. They were going to get an A. The minus is because they hardly played any of the songs I wanted.