Sometimes, a tour can need a few shows before it really picks up steam. Other times, it can hit the ground running and not look back.
If it hadn’t been mentioned a handful of times throughout the night, nobody in the crowd would have guessed that tonight was the first performance on the Greatest Generation Tour. And the night needed no assistance in regards to steam, turning a below-freezing night outside into a sweat-soaked circle pit.
Modern Baseball opened the night at around 6:30, drawing in a lot of fan interaction and earning a later mention from Dan Campbell, saying that they remind him of The Wonder Years when they were that age.
After a quick set, around a half-hour or so, Citizen took over, bringing a heavier brand of a hardcore/punk mix with them. Their crowd was active and relentless, and the buzz throughout the venue stuck from that point on.
Fireworks took the stage, and with them came a sense that, if The Wonder Years ever had to miss a show, these guys could seamlessly step into the role as headliner. As the lights dropped just before their entrance, the venue erupted with applause and “FI-RE-WORKS” chants.
But, and no offense meant to them, there’s a reason these three were openers. The stage went dark, a stream of spotlight hit Campbell’s face, and he lead into “There, There,” a fitting introductory song not only because it begins The Greatest Generation, but its gentle start quickly rips into “Passing Through A Screen Door.” The audience’s intensity was instant, causing the venue’s security to clear the photo pit midway through the second song rather than after three entire tracks.
About half of The Greatest Generation was performed, as well as other staples like “Melrose Diner,” “Woke Up Older,” and “Local Man Ruins Everything.” The band took advantage of their newly-restored headlining role (after spending the fall as an opener for A Day to Remember, Pierce the Veil, and All Time Low) to reach back into their catalog for a rare b-side, “Me Vs. the Highway.”
The emotion that made The Greatest Generation so memorable translated brilliantly to the live performance. Following the quick, aggressive “Dynamite Shovel,” the lights fell again and Campbell knelt down on a monitor. “There are certain things that you can’t change about yourself,” he said, “and there are certain things that you don’t want to change. But these are the things that make you who you are.” He paused and the audience silently waited. “This is a song about the devil in my bloodstream.” While Campbell sang, his voice was nearly entirely drowned out by the crowd singing back to him.
The band closed with “Came Out Swinging,” sending the crowd into a last-effort frenzy. They took a quick recess from the stage, returning with “I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral” as their grand finale. The seven-minute closer left every person there with their arms raised, shouting and regaining their breath as the music faded out and the lights came back on.
I always expect something special from The Wonder Years. But even with that those high expectations, I’m still a little surprised that tonight was the first night of this tour. All four bands on the bill captured the audience’s attention throughout their time onstage, and the focus grew stronger with each group. Seeing how great the tour was on its first night, I can only imagine how it’s going to be by the time it closes.
Passing Through A Screen Door
Local Man Ruins Everything
Woke Up Older
Me Vs. the Highway
A Raindance in Traffic
Everything I Own Fits in this Backpack
The Devil in my Bloodstream
Cul de Sac
Don’t Let Me Cave In
Washington Square Park
Came Out Swinging
I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral
Written and photos by: Eric Riley