Everything in Transit
Tenth Anniversary Tour
Thursday, February 4th 2016
The Royale; Boston, MA
Review and photos by Eric Riley
A few months back, I was lucky enough to cover the
Wilderness Politics Tour when it rolled through Albany. LOLO was wonderful, New
Politics crushed it, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness was as great as ever.
Writing up my review for that show, I almost
got carried away with talking about my undying love for Everything in Transit. But, I contained myself. This time around,
however, I feel a pretty good rant building up. So strap in.
I wasn’t all that subtle last time around when I was talking
about how impressive this record is. Nor have I ever been very subtle when
talking about how impressive this record is. It isn’t just the flawlessness of
it, and it isn’t just the story surrounding it. It’s not about how I felt when
I first heard it, nor is it about how well it holds up (Hell, it’s probably
even better a decade later). It’s all of these things and then some; it’s about
all of these things coming together for one final run.
Openers Leisure Cruise did a commendable job setting the
tone for the evening. Their set was upbeat and fun, without seeming to try too
hard. Unfortunately, the 35-minute happened to drag for what felt like longer
than the half hour time slot. And while that seems like a dig at the artist, it
says far more about the headliner and the situation. Much like when NK were given
the nod as the opener for Fall Out Boy’s return tour, or Mike Herrera beginning
the nights of Anberlin’s farewell run, the openers for these special tours are
given little slack. On any other evening, the applause would have been greater,
the cheers probably a bit more sincere. But, the room was there for Jack’s
Mannequin, and anything else was just standing in the way.
Moments before the main set began, the stage began coming
together – McMahon’s piano taking center stage, setlists taped to each station,
a large, brightly-lit asterisk hung in the background. The first flash of white
light brought a surge of energy from the eager crowd.
a soundtrack of beach winds, SoCal traffic, and seagull caws playing, the
reunited five-piece took the stage beneath blue lights, welcomed by deafening
first half of the setlist was obvious – the near-dozen chapters of Everything
in Transit played in succession. While we knew the songs and the order
they’d be coming, the additions of the little soundbites throughout the record
were a nice touch – the aforementioned background noise before “Holiday
from Real,” Andrew’s spoken words throughout “I’m Ready,” the
ending monologue following the closing half of “Made for Each
help give things a nice 10-year update, some minor additions and adjustments
were made here and there. "La La Lie” was simplified and stripped
down to the basics, done so without losing any of its impact. Later, the break
between “MFEO” and “You Can Breathe Now” was transformed
into an extended vamp, giving McMahon a chance to walk around the stage,
addressing the audience and thanking them for not only coming out for the
evening, but sticking around for the last decade, making an anniversary tour
not only possible, but highly sought-after.
encore brought a mixture of songs from other JM releases, both fast and
as the band mentioned, it wasn’t your traditional encore. McMahon spoiled the
trade secret of bands exiting stage and standing off to the side, waiting for
applause to draw them back out – “it’s just a lot of extra work, to go
stand, like, ten feet over that way behind the curtain and wait; we’d rather
just keep playing music.”
or not, a grab bag of other favorites capped off the night, throwing in a few
songs fans may have not expected to hear. “Hammers and Strings” and
“Swim” tugged at the room’s collective heartstrings, while
“Crashin’” and “Bloodshot” (which gets a surprising amount
of play – it was used last time around, too) kept the floor spinning. The night
came to an end with a Jack’s Mannequin favorite – a cover of Tom Petty’s
“American Girl.” It’s interesting to see a cover song act as
such a staple in a band’s arsenal, but when it is performed this well, even
with the lead singer crowdsurfing his way around the venue the entire time, why
not keep it going?
not sure what else there is to say about the show, the album, or the band in
general, really. There are plenty of classic records out there, and a handful
of them are “no-skippers,” as my sisters and I call them. Elton John’s Captain Fantastic, an album that I
heard, and I’m not exaggerating here, more than once a day while I was growing
up, is on that list. Boston’s self-titled is pretty close to perfect, and Born to Run is a masterpiece. In
more-recent history, the numbers get a bit smaller – Thrice’s Vheissu is beautiful from start to
finish, Razia’s Shadow is one of the
most underrated records of [at least] this generation, and then there’s Everything In Transit. When it first
came out, I was a skinny, pale, shy 14-year-old high schooler, and I had never
heard anything so incredible. Now, as a less-skinny, equally-pale, still
moderately-shy 24-year-old, I’ve still yet to find an album that holds a candle
to it. It’s been a decade, and I still find myself listening to it from front
to back a few times a week. And, if they decide to give us Twenty Years in Transit, you can bet I’ll be right back in the
front row once again.
So, that’s the record.
Until the next time, it’s been, uhh … it’s
But I’m glad that we
have her done.
Everything in Transit.
Holiday From Real
The Mixed Tape
La La Lie
Kill the Messenger
MFEO: Made for Each Other
You Can Breathe Now
Into the Airwaves
Hammers and Strings