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Opinion

At the Drive-In is Back. How Will the Band Compare to its 2012 Reunion?

One member really phoned it in last time.

At the Drive-In

At the Drive-In is one of the most powerful bands of its generation. Their 2000 masterpiece Relationship of Command is a lasting classic of American rock. During the band’s heyday, its live show was charged with bombastic energy. But their reunion for a performance at Coachella in 2012 was marred by a flat, wooden performance from guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. It’s possible that Omar looked so bored because of money or personal loss – but whatever the reasons, his appearance of total disinterest ruined At the Drive-In’s Coachella performance. Vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala confessed: “The reunion wasn’t really the raddest reunion we could have had. I think everyone in the band tried their best regardless of some people not looking like they wanted to be there.”

Will 2016 At The Drive-In be better? I hope so.

Here’s the band’s 2012 Coachella performance. Guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez looks like he’s waiting in line at the post office. The rest of the band, to their credit, seems committed to delivering a wholehearted performance.

Contrast that to the band’s performance at Australia’s Big Day Out Festival in 2001 (below). Omar seems utterly possessed. He whirls around the stage, attacking his guitar with seizures of energy. It’s one of the most urgent live rock performances I’ve ever seen.

Omar is a big part of the engine that propels At the Drive-In. If he looks bored out of his skull again this time around, it’ll be a shame. Let’s hope he’s more inspired this time – or that the band has a sit-down with him first.

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