[Live Review] YELLOWCARD (Sydney)

Yellowcard - credit Alicia Stephenson_MG_1698

Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Friday February 17, 2017 :

Last year Florida rockers Yellowcard broke their fan’s hearts by announcing that they are parting ways as a band. Nearly 20 years since first starting playing shows in 1997.

This year they brought their “Farewell Tour” to Australia and on a Friday in Sydney night they played their “biggest show on this tour” as frontman Ryan Key stated. Sold out Enmore Theatre, people lining outside the venue since early afternoon, packed dance floor, lines of fans queuing up for merch went for miles. The atmosphere at the venue felt like somebody’s birthday party times 100.

For me, it was an emotional rollercoaster, seeing one of the bands I grew up listening to one last time. Ocean Avenue guided me through my high school finals and my first failed relationship, it took me to my lowest lows and was a solid sing along to my highest highs. I remember how all the cool kids would be blasting ‘Lights & Sounds’ cruising around my sea side hometown. And this show was exactly what it needed to be, it was a throwback, Yellowcard took everyone on a trip down memory lane and things got messy.

First of all I do need to mention that Yellowcard chose a great band to take on tour with them. Like Torches, Swedish punk rock band sounded pretty sweet, while I was lining up to get inside the venue, unfortunately I didn’t get to see them perform.

Long awaited moment of Yellowcard taking the stage got the crowd wound up! And it hit all of us: the sound was amazing, the lights were on point, the energy was contagious! Starting with ‘Believe’ and progressing onto ‘Lights & Sounds’, the band did not have the original drummer and bass player and as we later find out from singer Ryan Key – the drummer, Jimmy Brunkvist is actually from the support band Like Torches and had to learn 30+ Yellowcard songs without rehearsing and while still in Sweden! How impressive is that? The band sounded so tight that you would never guess. The bass player, Josh Portman who not only came on tour with the guys but also went scuba diving with Key that same afternoon! What a life!

Third song the band played was “’Way Away’ which promoted sing alongs and a lot of crowd surfing from younger fans. After squirting some honey into his mouth, Key gave a pretty great first speech of the night:
How many of you had a chance to hear of last self titled record?” – crowd cheered – “How many of you seen us live before?” – crowd cheered louder – “If you ever seen us play before, then you know that one of the most important things to us is that each and every one of you goes home tonight with absolutely no fucking voices left! Okay? Which means that we will play a different mix of songs, but it’s a 2 hour long show and that means that all of you have to sing this entire 2 hours as loud as you fucking can! The reason that i asked you if you had a chance to listen to our latest record, is because I know that there are some people here, tonight, that saw we were coming here and that it was your last chance to see us. Maybe you haven’t seen us in a long time or maybe Ocean Avenue was your jam in the 8th grade and somehow you missed the news that we put out 6 records in the last 5 years, but none the less, welcome back or welcome for your first time….this is going to be an unbelievable rock’n’roll show here tonight!” followed by playing the first song of their latest record, called Rest In Peace.

‘Rough Landing Holly’ is my favourite Yellowcard song and hearing it live again, for the last time is such a blessing and it still sounds so damn great! Mackin is still as entertaining to watch as he was back in 2010, he still jumps around, does incredible backflips and owns the stage like its a damn playground and he’s a teenager who took up parkour! It was both surreal and incredibly sad to have the knowledge that this is it. This is goodbye.

Mackin was pacing around the stage during the next song ‘Awakening’ crossing paths with guitarist Ryan Mendez both looked highly energetic and it really was quite contagious! Followed by ‘Light Up The Sky’. Key thanked the fans again and said : “Thank you for the opportunity to sing about the things we struggle with and you help us with those struggles, just like we help you go through yours…and this next song is about one of those struggles”. Key delivered another speech, a very emotional one about the passing of his aunt Stephanie and how the band got a chance to write and play ‘Sing To Me’ for her before she passed. “I don’t know know what it was like for her to say goodbye to the one person who meant the world for her, her son. To allow you some peace and to all the people you have lost, sing with us, as loud as you can!” What a beautiful message and a beautiful song.

The band included such hits as : ‘Lift A Sail’, ‘With You Around’ and ‘Breathing’. Followed by an acoustic version of ‘Empty Apartment’. ‘Be The Young’ and ‘Hollywood Died’ we’re both great choices to play before their two biggest hits closing the show, ‘Only One’ and ‘Ocean Avenue’. That’s when the crowd went absolutely mental, two last songs to sum up one great last show! The band really managed to go out with an array of lights and sounds (pun intended).

People cried, people laughed, people danced their hearts out and I bet you 70% of the crowd will have no voice tomorrow! Literally “screaming their lungs out” to ‘Only One’.

What a show! It’s worth to mention that it was also probably the best production of a show I’ve seen this year!

Thanks for the memories, Yellowcard!

Reviewer : Annette Geneva
Photographer : Alicia Stephenson

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