Cage The Elephant | Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | 7/2/2024

Article Contributed by Nick Gumas | Published on Wednesday, July 3, 2024

In an era where attention spans are often short, the ability to command a room for a full hour and then some is a skill possessed by a select few. Last night’s performance by Cage The Elephant at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium proved to be an elating and gripping culmination of the dedication Matt Shultz and company have given to their craft over the past several decades together. From the first to the last note of the night, every eye in the crowd was glued to the stage as the band more than delivered on their promises for the evening.

Matt Shultz | Cage The Elephant | San Francisco, Ca

To say the show started off with a bang would be an understatement. As flames rose from the stage to accompany the first song, Shultz grabbed the microphone stand to propel himself into the air as they began their set with their 2019 hit “Broken Boy.” The connection between the artist and the Bay Area crowd was undeniable from the start, and not just because of the frontman’s fitted Giants cap bearing an embroidered “25” on the right-hand side.

Cage The Elephant | Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | San Francisco, Ca

The musicians hardly gave themselves a chance to catch their breath, filling the setlist with upbeat and animated hits including “Spiderhead,” “Ready To Let Go,” and “Cold Cold Cold.” The artists’ mobility was matched only by the audience’s, their energies playing off each other’s with mutual veneration.

Cage The Elephant | Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | San Francisco, Ca

The band seized every opportunity to call attention to their newest discographical additions, playing newer songs including “Rainbow,” “Good Time,” and eventually the title track from their latest album “Neon Pill.”

Matthan Minster | Cage The Elephant | San Francisco, Ca

Shultz took a moment to allow himself to be vulnerable with the crowd, stating “I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but I’ve had a really tough past five years… I’m blessed to be with you right now.” before launching into an emotionally-provoking rendition of their 2015 hit “Trouble.” A showman at his heart, Shultz pointed a finger in the air as the band paused for a while as the audience’s applause roared louder and louder before the group finished the last few bars of the piece acoustically.

Cage The Elephant | Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | San Francisco, Ca

The audience continued to play an active role in the performance as they clapped in tempo to introduce the next song “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” The interactive nature of the night would continue, notably during “Telescope” when Shultz would be handed a phone by a member of his security, turn on the flashlight, and wave it in the air to motivate the crowd to do the same.

Cage The Elephant | Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | San Francisco, Ca

Shortly after playing their 2019 hit “House of Glass,” the band left the stage but quickly returned to complete the night with an emotional roller coaster of an encore. Before the bandmates began to line up to play “Shake Me Down,” guitarist Brad Shultz took the microphone and pointed to a rambunctious section of the crowd, saying “Special shoutout to my moshpit group.”

Brad Shultz | Cage The Elephant | San Francisco, Ca

The band then took the pace down with an acoustic cover of their 2013 ballad “Cigarette Daydreams” before ending their show with a passionate cover of their hit “Come a Little Closer.” Brad Shultz slamming his guitar on the ground after playing his final note served as the terminal punctuation for the event, and an act of pointed rebellion deserving of the respect these musicians had justifiably garnered.

Cage The Elephant | Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | San Francisco, Ca

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