For those people who know me, I could never pass up a Yellowcard show, especially one so close to home. So, when I heard that my favorite band of nearly twelve years was coming to Starland Ballroom for the second routing of their Ocean Avenue Acoustic Tour, I couldn’t pass it up. I had been counting down to this day since the tour got announced, and I definitely wasn’t let down.
The show opened up with Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory’s fifties-esque side project, What’s Eating Gilbert. I had never seen him play his solo music before, but I definitely had it stuck in my head while waiting for Yellowcard to grace the stage. Gilbert brought a fun opening to the show, having the crowd dancing along to the songs. All the songs were upbeat, and they even threw in a catchy doo-wop cover within their set that got me singing along.
After Gilbert’s set, there was a long anticipation to Yellowcard’s set. I had already seen this tour back in September when Yellowcard had hit Philly and NYC with Geoff Rickly of Thursday. But, it felt like I was seeing it for the first time all over again. After what felt like an eternity, Yellowcard went on stage. The first half of their set was acoustic, playing Ocean Avenue in full, since they had released “Ocean Avenue Acoustic” last August. They started with their song, “Way Away”, and from that moment, the room felt like electricity was pulsing throughout it. The crowd sang along to each word that came from the lead singer’s, Ryan Key, mouth. Everyone enjoyed reliving the album that brought Yellowcard to fame in 2003. Even though it was an acoustic set, there was still crowd surfers and mosh pits flooding the crowd in Starland Ballroom. The first set ended with the album closer, “Back Home”, and Yellowcard left the stage to prepare for the electric set that would soon begin.
Between sets, the song “Your Hand in Mine” by the band Explosions in the Sky blasted from the speakers, preparing the perfect introduction to Yellowcard’s electric set. The band returned to the stage as the mid-set song ended and the beginning of their song, “Paper Walls” began to play. The crowd’s energy exploded as the band began to play the song. You could hear the crowd louder than the band, and that brought chills and tears to my eyes. Yellowcard played fan favorites from their multiple other albums throughout the set, including “The Takedown” which brought out the infamous backflip from violinist Sean Mackin that brought the crowd into pure bliss. Even though there were some technical difficulties throughout the set, the band handled them with pure professionalism, talking to the crowd about sports, especially the upcoming Super Bowl which Mackin is a huge fan of the Denver Broncos, and how happy the band was with the crowd reaction. Key even said that the Starland Ballroom show was in his top five shows of all time. The show ended with a big plot twist. Yellowcard is known for ending their show with their song, “Ocean Avenue”, and they sure as hell did, substituting the final chorus of their song “Lights and Sounds” with the chorus of OA.
Even though I had heard this show three times before, the show at Starland felt like a brand new experience. I was proud of the five men on the stage, seeing how far they had made it since that album had came out. The band announced, during and after the show, that they would be working on a new album this year and coming back to New Jersey during the summer, and I’ll be counting down the days until I see them next.