18 used & new from $6.36

Drive Well, Sleep Carefully - On the Road with Death Cab for Cutie

4.2 out of 5 stars 22 ratings

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
Price
New from Used from
DVD
July 26, 2005
1
$13.69 $2.38
DVD $45.96 $45.96
DVD $45.96 $45.96

Special offers and product promotions

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Drive Well Sleep Carefully joins Death Cab for Cutie on tour in the spring of 2004. Filmmaker Justin Mitchell captured dozens of shows across the country and interviewed the band at length in their hometown of Seattle.

Amazon.com

What Filmmaker Justin Mitchell captured in Drive Well, Sleep Carefully is a hybrid concert film and meditation on the strange loneliness and lure of touring. In the spring of 2004, Death Cab for Cutie were on the home stretch of their Transatlantisicm tour that spanned three continents over nearly four months. Mitchell (Dirty Old Town, Songs for Cassavetes) had never been to a Death Cab show before he hooked up with guitarist and vocalist Ben Gibbard, bassist Nick Harmer, guitarist and sometimes organist Chris Walla, and drummer Jason McGerr to shoot the tour's final three weeks, then met them in their hometown of Seattle for post-road interviews. The documentary catches the band at a moment fraught with possibility: after six years of extended tours, four acclaimed full-length albums, regular name-checks on The O.C., and the explosion of Gibbard's side project, the Postal Service, they're poised to trade hard-earned indie success for the wider possibilities offered by a contract with Atlantic Records.

Anyone getting their first look at Death Cab live on this film should expect to be set back on their heels by the band's capacity to tear it up. They’re frequently called "poppy," but what transpires onstage is flat-out rock & roll. Mitchell tucks most of the interview and road footage between the film's 13 performances, but when he overlays images with the music or breaks for commentary, the effect is nearly always complementary. "Title and Registration" in New Orleans feels even more bleakly beautiful spliced with rainy bayou road images. "We Looked Like Giants" smoothly detours into Gibbard's musings on young love, then cuts back into the performance for a duel-drum-set jam session. "Styrofoam Plates" gets briefly interrupted for an eloquent digression on the funeral that inspired the lyrics; it's just unfortunate that for the remainder of the song the vocals sound so submerged. Given that most of Death Cab's fans are enamored with their lyrics, the film's major flaw is that they're occasionally buried and indiscernible, particularly when a performance takes a ferocious turn--but in consolation, these smackdowns are when the band seems most in their element.

After witnessing this enthusiasm, it's a little surprising to hear that the touring life has started to feel mundane. Aside from the occasional ascent up the speakers to keep things lively, they’re fighting this sensation by putting themselves in the mindset of the folks at their shows. For Harmer, playing huge rooms has made him obsessed with the guys in the back: "Are they rockin' out?" Walla says that he's been making more eye contact with fans on this tour "just to see what's going on," and he's delighted by the huge grins that elicits. Due to their relentless schedule and the "comfy cocoon" of their new tour bus, shows provide their only opportunity to connect and glimpse the impact they're making outside of the dream state of the tour. As McGerr describes it, "You can't see in front of you or behind you. You're engulfed in a fog, and you don't know what things will look like when the fog lifts." This film draws viewers to the edge of this fog, and they sense its charmed disorientation.

DVD Features

The whirlwind nature of the project (compared to, say, the seven years of film that went into DiG!) presumably didn't leave Mitchell the luxury of a ton of spare footage, but the disc includes several worthwhile extras. The "Stability" rehearsal's marred by the muddy, distant quality of the vocals, but the instruments are solid, and it's interesting to see their practice space. An acoustic set of three songs at San Francisco's Metreon comes with some fun banter (Walla declaring his reverence for Sarah Vowell, Gibbard jokingly deflecting a question about his side project), and the stripped-down performance offers a spare beauty uncommon at their electrified shows. The additional interviews include a demonstration of drummer McGerr's rhythmic prowess; a story about the band embracing the slickest stage they ever played and, in Harmer's words, "turning it into the Death Cab on Ice Show" (Gibbard: "I must have fell five or six times on my ass"); and more historical details from "producer, sometimes-arranger-type" Walla on the Hall of Justice studios, a building that, before--becoming the secret headquarters for tracking and mixing The Photo Album and much of Transatlanticism--witnessed the creation of Nirvana's Bleach. The Andycam feature will be most enjoyed by expats of Spokane, WA, for a drunken late-night walking tour of their city, including perhaps the most hilarious 10 seconds of the entire film--the grim look on Gibbard's face as the camera pans the only nightclub they could locate. But the best extra is an intense, gorgeous demo version of "Lightness" with vocal percussion, playing over a triumphant tour montage. If only the circular nature of Transatlanticism hadn't precluded burying this treasure at the end. --Mari Malcolm

Recommended Death Cab for Cutie Discography

More Music Documentaries from Plexifilm


Product details

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
22 customer ratings
5 star
70%
4 star
15%
3 star 0% (0%) 0%
2 star 0% (0%) 0%
1 star
15%
How does Amazon calculate star ratings?
Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2019
Verified Purchase
Reviewed in the United States on March 2, 2006
Verified Purchase
3 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2006
Verified Purchase
6 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on December 3, 2011
Verified Purchase
Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2007
Verified Purchase
Reviewed in the United States on March 8, 2007
Verified Purchase
Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2009
Verified Purchase
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2006
Verified Purchase

Top international reviews

sandra smith
5.0 out of 5 stars present
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 5, 2013
Verified Purchase
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Pork and Beans
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great band.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2012
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Fraudulent Zodiac
5.0 out of 5 stars Legends
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 6, 2014
Verified Purchase
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
L. M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ein muss für jeden Death Cab Fan !
Reviewed in Germany on April 12, 2010
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Matthew Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see for Death Cab fans.
Reviewed in Germany on January 24, 2019
Verified Purchase
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Mario
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in Canada on July 8, 2018
Verified Purchase
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
ATOM
5.0 out of 5 stars Super DVD Muss für DCFC Fans
Reviewed in Germany on August 29, 2009
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Pages with related products. See and discover other items: on the road movie