Like many other music fans and concert-goers, I am a huge fan of ten-year anniversary tours. This past winter, rock band Say Anything went the extra mile by performing their three albums from front-to-back in only two nights for each city: night one features …Is A Real Boy and In Defense of the Genre Side 1, while night two features In Defense of the Genre Side 2 and their self-titled album.

Despite my enthusiasm, I must note that the In Defense Anniversary Tour was my first concert that I genuinely had to “prepare” for to write a review. I knew of the band name of course, but couldn’t name a single song prior to taking the opportunity. How did I prepare? I familiarized myself with both …Is A Real Boy and In Defense of the Genre, as well as researched background information about the band.  Ultimately, I attended the first night in Chicago, IL at the Metro not exactly knowing what to expect and as a result, here were my thoughts.

Say Anything started the night by playing the first half of two-sided 2007 album, In Defense of the Genre. While the first two songs did not sound bad, it wasn’t until the song “That Is Why” when the vocals of Max Bemis became the most prominent.  Meanwhile, songs such as “This is F-cking Ecstasy”, “Baby Girl, I’m A Blur”, and “Died A Jew” were so catchy it was impossible to not want to move around and feel like dancing.

Other memorable moments from the first half of the night included the small mosh pit during “Shiksa (Girlfriend)”, as well as the audience singing along to acoustic-based “An Insult to the Dead” and the outro of “Surgically Removing the Tracking Device”.

If I were the keys
Then where would I be?
If it’s up to me
Then I will be free.

Following a fairly short intermission, the band dove right into the first song of breakthrough album …Is A Real Boy. If I were to pin-point a main difference between the two albums, …Is A Real Boy definitely has more of a 2000s rock-sound in terms of instrumentals, yet it is the type of rock that still sounds catchy.

The energy in the crowd was significantly higher throughout the performance of …Is A Real Boy, with the fans singing along to every word of every song. Songs that particularly stood out due to the crowd’s energy include “The Futile”, “Every Man Has a Molly”, and the very catchy “Spidersong”. In fact, not only did the whole room clap along during the bridge of “Every Man Has a Molly”, but Bemis even left it to the crowd to sing the first two verses without him.

Soon enough, 9:54 p.m. hit and with the show scheduled to end at 10, Bemis assured that there was still time for the band to finish playing the record that the audience paid to see live. The second to last song, “I Want to Know Your Plans” was performed solely by Bemis with just an acoustic guitar. By being the slow song of the album, the crowd sang to every word together in harmony.

The night officially ended with the last track of the album, “Admit It!!!”. By shouting the words “Admit It” at the very start of the song, the audience made sure to end the show on a stronger note with a small circle pit and even a few crowd surfers. Before we all knew it, the concert had ended and the lights came on. While I can confidently say I indeed enjoyed the show, I think what remains the most memorable about the In Defense Anniversary Tour is how Say Anything provides the warmth and intimacy that every anniversary tour should have.

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