Madison Loves Cake

Orpheum – Madison, WI

Cake Madison Orpheum

Distinctive bass lines, clean trumpet, and an abundance of the vibraslap–Cake’s sold-out tour hit the Orpheum Theater in Madison, WI on Friday evening. It was an odd setting: an 8-foot tree perched front and center upon a 12-foot high stage beneath a disco ball. A live Cake show is something of an experience that involves a majority of hardcore fans swaying in a stuffed venue while singing and following the verbal requests of vocalist, and Cake figurehead, John McCrea. The show opened with a several minute recording and the lights dimmed to emphasize the floating reflections from the hanging disco ball. The crowd erupted as the band finally surfaced and they started into Willie Nelson’s Sad Songs and Waltzes.

Cake Madison OrpheumDescribed as “An Evening With Cake,” it was just that as they performed without an opening act and broke their set into a pair of roughly one-hour sets covering material from each of their recordings. They released their latest album Showroom of Compassion, following seven years without a new studio release, in January 2011. That time was spent intermittently touring while putting together a solar-powered, independent, recording studio.

Cake Madison Orpheum

Cake’s unique sound lends well to their live show, somehow improving upon their recordings. McCrea’s mostly spoken vocals were delivered consistent with his esoteric personality. His between song musings typically had the crowd laughing or applauding. He dedicated Rock and Roll Lifestyle and Sick of You to anti-union Governor Scott Walker with a solid reaction from the audience. Musically the band could not have been more tight. Gabe Nelson (bass) and Vince DiFiore (keyboards and trumpet) provide the distinct vibe that encompasses Cake’s sound. Xan McCurdy (lead guitar) and Paulo Baldi (percussion) tie those pieces together while McCrea adds his patent vibraslap. Though they play without a setlist, the entire show moved with precision.

The tree, which acted as the stage’s topiary, was gifted to the first member of the audience that could identify the tree. However, there was a caviat–that person had to plant the tree and provide photographic evidence while standing with the tree to Cake within a month. This is something they’ve been doing during each date of their sold-out tour.


1. Sad Songs and Waltzes (Willie Nelson cover)
2. Jolene
3. Satan Is My Motor
4. Pentagram
5. Long Time
6. Mustache Man
7. Rock and Roll Lifestyle
8. Wheels
9. Mexico
10. Thrills
11. Stickshifts and Safetybelts
12. Sick of You
13. Bound Away
14. Frank Sinatra
15. Opera Singer
16. Federal Funding
17. Guitar
18. Shadow Stabbing
19. Never There
20. Love You Madly
21. War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
22. Short Skirt Long Jacket
Return Encore
23. The Distance

Head over to and  Sonic Rampage for in depth concert reviews and more photos.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

Cake on Tour:

May 13, 2011
Orpheum Theater (SOLD OUT)
Madison, WI

May 14, 2011
The Riviera Theater (SOLD OUT)
Chicago, IL

May 15, 2011
Egyptian Room (Murat Centre)(SOLD OUT)
Indianapolis, IN

May 17, 2011
Masonic Auditorium (SOLD OUT)
Cleveland, OH

May 18, 2011
Royal Oak Theater (SOLD OUT)
Detroit, MI

May 19, 2011
Aronoff Center for the Arts (SOLD OUT)
Cincinnati, OH

May 20, 2011
Artpark (SOLD OUT)
Buffalo, NY

May 21, 2011
Sound Academy
Toronto, ON

June 2, 2011
Sokol Auditorium
Omaha, NE

June 3, 2011
City Market (SOLD OUT)
Kansas City, MO

June 10, 2011
Mesa Amphitheater
Mesa, AZ

June 11, 2011
The Boulevard Pool @ Cosmopolitan
Las Vegas, NV

June 13, 2011
Ogden Theater (SOLD OUT)
Denver, CO

June 14, 2011
Ogden Theater (SOLD OUT)
Denver, CO

June 16, 2011
Red Butte Garden
Salt Lake City, UT

June 17, 2011
Wood River Cellars
Eagle, ID

July 1, 2011
Terra Vibe Park, Rockwave Festival
Athens, Greece

July 3, 2011
Efes One Love Festival
Istanbul, Turkey

July 5, 2011
Zurich, Switzerland

July 6, 2011
Milan, Italy

July 8, 2011
Cologne, Germany

July 9, 2011
Les Ardentes Festival
Liege, Belguim

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