Yellowcard celebrated last year's tenth anniversary of their breakthrough effort, Ocean Avenue, with a freshly-recorded acoustic rendition of the album, followed by a tour in which they performed the album acoustically. The run was a great success, and the band (and their fans) enjoyed it so much that they decided to go back and hit the markets the missed on the first leg.
Before kicking off their set on February 1 at Lupo's in Providence, RI, Yellowcard frontman Ryan Key outlined the "rules" the audience must abide by: have the best night of your life, sing along until you lose your voice and enjoy the show through your eyes rather than your phone.
Key and lead guitarist Ryan Mendez then launched into the instantly-recognizable - even on acoustic guitars - intro of "Way Away." The set offered a fresh perspective on the fan favorite album; although it was faithfully to the Ocean Avenue Acoustic recordings, which themselves weren't far removed from the source material. It wasn't a sit-down acoustic performance; it was a full-band rock show that happened to include acoustic guitars. Faster numbers "Life of a Salesman" and "Twentythree" even elicited mosh pits from the excitable crowd. One fan successfully proposed to his girlfriend during "One Year, Six Months."
The performance of Ocean Avenue clocked in at around an hour, and that alone was worth the price of admission - but the members of Yellowcard were far from finished. After a brief intermission (set to Explosions in the Sky!), the band returned to the stage with their trusty electric guitars. They proceeded to play for another 50 minutes of post-Ocean Avenue material, including "Always Summer," "Awakening," "For You, And Your Denial" and "The Takedown."
Key was genuinely grateful to have an audience respond to their music after all these years. He also revealed that the band will be working on a new album this year, in addition to announcing some exciting touring plans in the near future. Although Key claimed "Lights and Sounds" would be their final song, its conclusion was accompanied by a quick drum solo by the uber-talented Longineu W. Parsons III that segued into a spirited reprisal of "Ocean Avenue."
The tour's sole support slot was filled by What's Eating Gilbert, the side project of New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert. He and his formally-clad friends transported the crowd back to the '50s with their throwback doo-wop rock sound (although the cursing was anachronistic). The half hour set showcased material from the handful of EPs Gilbert released since the project's inception in 2010, along with covers of Betty Everett's "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)" ("This song sets the moms off!" according to Gilbert) and Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman." Like Yellowcard, they played acoustically.
More than a decade after singing "I've made it this far now / And I'm not burning out" in "Way Away," Key and his bandmates are standing by those words. Yellowcard has run the gamut of highs and lows since Ocean Avenue's release; to see so many people continue to care after after all this time is further proof of the band's resiliency.