Review: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Crystal Ballroom May 9
Written by joe on May 11, 2017
Photo by Jeff Schock
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
FFO: Colony House, Bleachers, Night Riots, Young Rising Sons
“Are you ready to dance Portland?!”
Andrew McMahon asked the crowd before covering one of his own songs, “Dark Blue” by Jack’s Mannequin. He had interrupted his set prior to that, instructing the crowd to leave all their issues, worries, and anything clogging up their news feed behind them and at the door. Asking them to forget about the world, and to have a fun and incredible Tuesday night with him.
That’s exactly what happened that night at the Crystal Ballroom. With only a few shows left on his tour with Atlas Genius and Night Riots, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness stopped by Portland’s Crystal Ballroom on May 9, 2017, and delivered quite the show.
Initially, the only thing that accompanied Andrew on stage were his other band members, some lights surrounding the stage, his signature piano, and a plain black banner with a single word on it: WILDERNESS. Andrew didn’t need any additional props or accessories to add to his stage setup. From the second he stepped on stage, and opened with his lead single off his most recent release Zombies on Broadway “Fire Escape”, the entire crowd and room lit up. The entire ballroom was dancing and singing along with Andrew, the largest smile was on his face the entire time, and he ended the song by leaping on top of his piano keys and staring smugly at the crowd.
I didn’t think he needed anything additional to add to the set, and that the music spoke for itself; however, if you’ve been to an Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness show you know how theatrical they are. On multiple occasions Andrew would jump off stage to walk through the crowd and sing, after a few songs the black banner was taken down to unveil a new banner of a astronaut helmet with space and city scape images projected onto it, his signature parachute was brought out during his song “Synesthesia,” and there was the newest addition to this tour. During “Don’t Speak For Me” a giant rubber duck was brought out and held up by the audience, Andrew McMahon climbed inside it, and proceeded to perform the song as the crowd carried him around the venue.
Since he’s been around for nearly 20 years, Andrew is aware of the fanbase he has created over the years through all of his projects. The music and set itself was balanced perfectly, with a mix of new and older songs from his days with Something Corporate all the way up to the Wilderness era. It was a show that appealed to every fan, and even current fans exploded with excitement and nostalgia when songs like “Dark Blue”, “The Mixed Tape”, “Swim”, “La La Lie”, and “I Woke Up In A Car” were played.