Ever been to a show in your city and wondered what it was like in someone else’s city? All Punked Up writers, Alex West and Tabitha Timms, each went to The Wonder Years Acoustic Tour in their own cities and compared their experiences.

The Wonder Years raises funds for Puerto Rico relief efforts while putting on the best acoustic show of the year

By: Alex West

You know what they say, “fourth time’s a charm”. Okay, so maybe that’s not quite right, but in the case of this concert, it was true. After seeing The Wonder Years three times, I snagged tickets to their October 8th New York City Intimate Acoustic set at Le Poisson Rouge in NoHo. The venue sold out so quickly that the band had to add a matinee show to appease fans.

At that time, I did not know how important this show really was. Of course, the fact that such a pop punk icon was doing an acoustic tour was amazing in itself, but the New York City show was special in its own right.

The Wonder Years announced a philanthropy tied to this particular show. The band has a long history of political stances and charitable causes, including their ongoing reminder to fans with mental illness that they are not alone, Dan Campbell’s political rants, and the impromptu livestream that Campbell did to encourage voter turnout. In this particular show, however, attention was given to a much needed and time-sensitive cause– hurricane relief for Puerto Rico.

During the show, Dan Campbell (aka Soupy) announced their goal of raising $5,000, which at the time of the announcement was halfway met. He encouraged those watching on a livestream to donate as well, remarking that this was based on the honor system and to help them meet their goal. The Wonder Years made this show special by bringing a string quartet on stage to play their set with them, which added such a deeper, fuller feel to the music.

Now, not meaning to brag, but I did manage to be first in line for the show, therefore putting me front row in the middle of the stage. The point of the tour was to have intimate shows… and the venue sure was intimate. Without even a barrier blocking my path, I was pressed against the stage itself. In comparison to previous The Wonder Years shows, there was a different vibe merely among the crowd itself. No one was pushing (crazy, right?). There wasn’t an over-sized man throwing himself at the stage; a smell of body odor was nowhere to be found in the air; it was simply a mellowed crowd singing along to bands that they liked.

The opening acts were wonderful. Jetty Bones lead the way with the perfect blend of the spunk of Paramore and the punk of Neck Deep. It was immediately obvious that this was going to be a good show. Quickly after that, The Obsessives were ushered onto stage. Their unique medley of music that quickly shifted from calming melodic tunes to Boston Manor-style bops was a perfect metaphor for the strange dynamic of a The Wonder Years acoustic show. For the final opener, Laura Stevenson and her band made their way to the stage. Stevenson’s voice shown purely onto the audience. Her music questioned at existentialism, even telling the audience, “This next one’s about death.” However, she was sure to point out a few self-care tips to the audience, highlighting her own struggle with mental illness. It was heartwarming to see her own band mates and The Obsessives bring her flowers to show their love for her and her work.

Finally, The Wonder Years took the stage. Since this was the last show of the tour, emotions were running high and all of the previous bands stood off to the side as onlookers. Among this group of friends and familiar faces was Dan Campbell’s wonderful wife who was there for support and, of course, love. The Intimate Acoustic Tour was a result of the band’s release of their latest EP, Burst & Decay. However, the band exclusively played some additional songs that were not necessarily on the EP as acoustic adaptations. For example, they opened with “Dismantling Summer”… a traditionally strong, bellowing song. The emotion remained the same, but this time it had a strange peace tied to it.

However, the best song of the night was “Coffee Eyes”. As a small town suburbia girl, the acoustic version of this song (which appears on Burst & Decay) really resonates with me. The entire song, being about hometown feels and roots, is really brought to a new level when performed acoustically. Since I just moved out of my hometown, the acoustic version brought an air of nostalgia and seemed to mimic that moment when someone at a bonfire has a guitar and is just singing about life.

They ended on a sad note… of course. “Cigarettes and Saints” was so beautiful. The unity that the band created in the audience through that song was unreal. It’s okay to not be okay, the concert reminded me. It’s okay, everything’s okay. I left feeling that for real. Shout out to The Wonder Years for being able to connect a crowd despite all of the bullshit in the world.

The Wonder Years know how to turn your favorite full-band tracks into elegant acoustic masterpieces

By: Tabitha Timms

On September 26, pop-punk band The Wonder Years brought their acoustic tour to The Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio.

Supporting acts included Jetty Bones, The Obsessives and Laura Stevenson.

One opening act that stood out the most is Jetty Bones, fronted by the spunky Kelc Galluzzo. Every song was upbeat, making the crowd instant Jetty Bones fans. One song that drew attention the most was “No Lover,” performed with energy and getting everyone amped and hooked on Jetty Blues.

The Wonder Years put on a different kind of performance in this set, turning your favorite full-band tracks into elegant acoustic masterpieces. The set included “Don’t Let Me Cave In” and “Dismantling Summer.” They also included everyone’s favorite “Living Room Song” and everyone in the crowd sang the words “So fuck the world and what it wants me to be,” together in perfect harmony. The band also brought Laura Stevenson on stage to sing “Devil In My Bloodstream” along with lead vocalist, Dan “Soupy” Campbell. The performance was powerful enough to give goosebumps in what seemed to be the hottest venue to exist. They also treated the crowd to a live version of “Hey Julie,” originally preformed by Fountains Of Wayne, and closed the show with “Cardinals,” where Campbell stood up giving the last lines he had and showing us a little bit of fire that is shown in so many full-band The Wonder Years shows.

Set List:
Dismantling Summer
Local Man Ruins Everything
No Closer to Heaven
A Song For Ernest Hemingway
Thanks For the Ride
Living Room Song
Palm Reader
There, There
Devil in my Bloodstream
You in January
Coffee Eyes
Passing Through a Screen Door
Cigarettes and Saints

Don’t sleep on the chance to see this tour!