It was a sad day when Anberlin announced they were calling it a day in 2014. After over a decade of touring the world, the rock band said goodbye with the release of their seventh album Lowborn followed by an extensive farewell tour and the release of a career spanning box set.
It seemed that the band was well and truly retired until December 2018, which saw Anberlin reunite for a one off show with post hardcore giants Underoath. This one off performance opened the floodgates and the band was inundated with cries from hopeful fans yearning to see them back in action. A few months passed and Anberlin’s first full tour in almost five years was announced, with the band heading down under to celebrate classic records Never Take Friendship Personal and Cities as well as a plethora of fan favourites. Vocalist Stephen Christian admits that the time away from the band life was much needed.
“We didn't break up on bad terms, but internally we were exhausted. We'd been touring for 12 years, we just felt like the band had run its course. We had all these other passions and dreams outside the band, and family and friends. It just kind of felt like Anberlin exclusively stood in the way. It was a tough break up because some of the guys really wanted to stay a band and the other guys, you know, there's three of us that just kind of felt like well, you know, this is a great time of life, but this isn't all there is to life.”
The return of Anberlin wasn’t something that came about overnight. Following the final tour, the band members went their separate ways and gave each other breathing room. After a dozen years living and travelling in close proximity to one another, it was clear that space was what they all needed. Christian admits that reaching out to his former bandmates wasn’t about getting the band back together, but more about reconnecting with old friends.
“There was nothing like band drama or anything like that; we just started to go our own ways. We started to develop our own friends, our own lives. I moved to New Mexico, which is in the middle of the desert, and one of the guys went off to Austin, Texas, the other guys remain in St. Petersburg area,” Christian says.
“So about a year and a half ago I just started to reach out, not with any ambition, not because I wanted to tour. I just felt like these were some valuable friends in my life, and I just wanted to get to know them again, see how the world was treating them, and see what they're up to. We just decided to talk again and hang out. So we went to stay on the beach not too far from St. Pete and we just started to like reminisce and talk about old times and how much fun we had. And we realised that the passion was lost somewhere along the way and I think that all happened when it became a job and not a hobby or something we did on the weekends or something that was intriguing or fun.”
Whilst it might seem off for an American band to kick off their return to touring on the other side of the world, it’s widely known that Australia has always served as a second home for Anberlin. The band have toured Australia over a dozen times and built an incredibly powerful connection with their fanbase down under. Christian says the choice to celebrate Friendship and Cities on this run was easy to make.
”We love Australians and this will be our 14th time as a band heading out to Australia. And so, for us it’s pure joy. When we landed in Australia for the first time we had just put out Never Take Friendship Personal. And so, for us as a band, we felt like, that's the band. That's the record that has allowed Anberlin to travel to Australia 13 times. So why would we not wanna play that? And then Cities is just one of our favourite records of the band, so that's why that's in there. If I'm gonna go see a band that I love and that I have loved forever, please do not play something that just came out a week ago. Take me back in time, take me back to a moment when life was way more innocent and I was way more carefree. That's where we're at.”
Anberlin’s Australian tour kicks off in Brisbane on Saturday May 25. Cities is still one of the best albums of all time.