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Live Wired [Review]: Jack's Mannequin And Guster

Last Friday was a perfect summer night and thus the best evening atmosphere anyone could imagine for a concert. The Bank of America Pavilion was packed with people of all ages who were treated to a night of great music while watching the sun go down over the water. It was the end of the first week of the Guster and Jack’s Mannequin co-headlining tour and this show was certainly full of special moments and surprises.

Ra Ra Riot kicked off the show as concertgoers were filing into the venue, many intrigued and entertained by the opening act. An indie pop band hailing from New York, the group set the tone for the rest of the show, putting everyone in a good mood with their laid-back but fun music. One of the highlights of their set was their performance of “Too Dramatic”, which showed off the band’s use of violin and cello in their songs.

By the time Jack’s Mannequin took the stage, the crowd was full and on their feet in anticipation. Exactly a year after front man Andrew McMahon was in town playing a Something Corporate reunion show, he was back with his current band, on the verge of releasing their third album. They started off by getting everyone dancing and singing along to their biggest hit to date, “The Mixed Tape”. The band treated the crowd to three new songs from their upcoming album People & Things, including one called “Amelia Jean” which they had never played before. Their performance of “Bruised” kept the crowd going halfway through the set and emphasized the great dynamic between Andrew and the backup vocals of guitar player Bobby Anderson who provides beautiful harmonies. Ending the set after getting to play for over an hour, they chose to play their catchy sing-a-long tune, “La La Lie”. McMahon showed off his harmonica playing skills to the delight of the audience, and jumped off of his piano onto the stage like a rock star.

It was a special show for Guster, who are co-headlining this summer tour. Not only did lead singer Ryan Miller point out that they have been making music for almost twenty years now, but it was also a hometown show for the band. It was obvious that this show was just as exciting for the fans as it was for them. Everyone sang along as they opened with “Barrel Of A Gun”, and never stopped. Guster’s performance of “Manifest Destiny” was a prime example of the band’s strengths. It’s a more upbeat song featuring a lot of the piano and while it’s a great recorded song, it takes on a whole new identity when played live. In fact, a good amount of their music worked in the same way; each song was transformed into something better with the live energy of the band. The best moments of the night came at the very end, when Andrew McMahon joined Guster on stage. He played keyboard and accompanied them in playing “Careful”. He then stayed on stage as the band announced that they would play a song for “the first and probably the last time”. They broke out into a cover of Foreigner‘s “I  Want To Know What Love Is”, goofing around but singing their hearts out. To add another surprise, former SNL cast member Will Forte came on stage and sang along too. It was an interesting end to the night that left everyone smiling.

Will Forte joins Guster on stage

Check out the rest of the dates on this tour!