MANHATTAN, NY—On Monday, Sept. 9, Yellowcard kicked off their two-night stay at Irving Plaza in NYC. As I got to the venue located near Union Square, I was greeted by Yellowcard fans while they formed a line from the venue that reached the end of the block. These die-hard fanatics were excited to hear the band’s 2003 album, Ocean Avenue, in its entirety with acoustic instrumentation. The last half of the band’s set would be a lot more energetic and what most enthusiasts are used to, containing lots of jumping around, electric guitar solos, mosh pits and crowd surfing. As folks awaited the main act, they stood and looked on as the lead singer for Thursday, Geoff Rickly, would perform an acoustic set.
Rickly came out on stage and introduced himself before breaking into a few of his solo hits. He was very humble and thanked everyone for their support for his solo music, as well as his career with Thursday. With a cup of whiskey in hand, he started to discuss the year 2003. He talked about what the year meant for him and his band, as well as other acts like Yellowcard. Rickly took us all back 10 years when he performed covers of The Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots,” Brand New’s “Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot,” and Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River.” After finishing his set with a few Thursday tracks, he went over to the merch booth and signed autographs, took pictures, and got to know some of his fans.
By the time Yellowcard came on, the audience was collaborating on their own version of “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” by Fall Out Boy, which was playing over the speakers. As the band took the stage, the crowd exploded in applause. The entire Ocean Avenue record was performed in order. Starting with “Way Away,” vocalist Ryan Key and the rest of the band captivated the audience, bringing out these old songs and giving them new life. They took short breaks between some tracks just to thank all those who came out that night and for the ones who were at Irving Plaza the night before as well.
Yellowcard concluded their acoustic set with the last cut on the album, “Back Home.” A few minutes went by before the band came out with their electric gear. Showcasing a completely different side to their performance, Key and violinist Sean Mackin were jumping everywhere on stage. Fans in the audience began forming mosh pits and crowd surfing, providing a cyclical wave of energy to each other. 2012’s Southern Air was featured in this electric set with “Always Summer,” “Here I Am Alive,” “Awakening” and “Surface Of The Sun.”
This performance showcased a lot of different sides to Yellowcard. First, there was the acoustic rendition of their big record from 2003. Then they performed hits from various records in an electric setting. The setlist also included “Paper Walls” and “The Takedown” from the band’s 2007 release, Paper Walls. Concluding their set was “Lights And Sounds” with an altered ending to include a drum solo by Longineu Parsons III and a finale with “Ocean Avenue” getting an electric bid.
This was a night of celebration, dedicated to music of the past and more specifically, the music of 2003. It was one of the most important years in Yellowcard’s history, bringing the arrival of an album that would change their career forever. The band couldn’t be more grateful for their fans, and to show their appreciation, performed their favorite off their favorite record, Ocean Avenue. As the group celebrated their roots, they also looked forward to being back. I don’t know what Yellowcard has planned for the future, but I do know that the next time they are back in the NY/NJ area, there will be fans waiting outside the doors, lining up down the block, waiting to get in.