Friday, November 4th, 2016 at the House of Blues in the city of Chicago. It was the night many Yellowcard fans of the Chicagoland area had not only been waiting for, but at the same time, dreading. It was Yellowcard’s The Final World Tour and it was Chicago’s turn to say a final goodbye to the nearly-twenty-year old pop punk band.
The night started out with Hopeless Records alternative band, Dryjacket. While their style may not have exactly fit what the rest of the night entailed, I personally enjoyed their indie/alt-rock sound. Following Dryjacket was pop-punk band Like Torches, joining the tour all the way from Sweden. With their praise for Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza and enthusiasm during performance, Like Torches’ set was a great way to get the Yellowcard fans hyped for one of the best concerts of their lives.
Right as Yellowcard’s set was to finally begin, a voice recording surrounded the venue. From friendly reminders such as “the band wants to see your faces, not your phones” to “the miracle that’s your eyeball,” it provided not only the most valid, but also most satirical intro at any rock show I have ever been to. Ending the message with “while the band is not telling anyone how to live their life, if you think that low-quality video footage on a mobile device is better than living in the moment at a badass rock show, then in the words of Yellowcard, ‘you are fucking blowing it.'”
And before you know it, the violin to Yellowcard’s “Believe” begins to play. Written as a tribute to those lost and affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this track from their breakthrough record has remained a fan favorite for more than a decade. Not to mention, with the more recent events in U.S. politics, I think this song can still serve as reassurance for the nation. Everything is gonna be alright. Be strong. Believe.
The next two songs were “Way Away” and “Lights and Sounds.” Both over a decade old, these singles from two different records have remained staples to nearly every Yellowcard setlist. Following was the upbeat “Five Becomes Four,” also known to be a classic “circle pit” song. Immediately starting out with fast-paced vocals, this song got a circle pit going like any old fashioned Yellowcard show does.
Briefly switching from pre-hiatus discography to post-hiatus, Yellowcard played two songs off their latest and final self-titled record. “Rest In Peace” was released back in summer 2016 and served as the announcement for the band’s forthcoming breakup. Following was the second track off the album, “What Appears.” With the song’s lyrics, Slow steady hands waving their last goodbye, this song is perfect for the crowd to wave their hands back and forth in unison.
The next song was “Rough Landing, Holly,” the second single from the record Lights and Sounds. Afterwards was “Awakening,” a newer fan-favorite and the only song of the night that was from Southern Air. Then, “Light Up The Sky,” the only single from Paper Walls, was performed. Of course, everyone joined in for the clapping throughout the song.
Prior to the next song, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Ryan Key gave a short speech about his Aunt Stephanie who passed away a few years ago. He has stated before that she was the one out of his family who was most supportive of his dream to pursue a career in music. She even drove across the country all the way to California with him. This song dedicated to her is called “Sing For Me.” While written for Key’s aunt, this very emotional song is one that anyone who has lost a loved one can relate to.
The next three songs were newer songs from the band’s past two records. “Transmission Home” was one of the first songs to be released from their seventh studio album Lift a Sail. Following was a new song from their self-titled, “A Place We Set Afire.” A song written specifically for the fans, reminding them while they are truly what made the band’s career and that the band will forever be grateful for their support, it is important to not get lost in time and acknowledge that the best things do eventually come to an end. We don’t have to say goodbye, but we can’t get lost in time. The next song was another song from Lift a Sail. In fact, it was the title track of the record. While it is a fairly newer song, it has become a staple for the band’s most recent live performances. Key has stressed many times since its release how the song and record is one of the most important things that the band has written and helped them get through some of the hardest times of their lives. One of the most important lyrics that the band always has the crowd sing along to is I am ready now. But before playing this very emotional and personal song, Key once again called out the “fake fans” who were only at the show that night because “Ocean Avenue was their jam in third grade,” and informing them that the band has released many more albums since then. Yellowcard has clearly become so much more than who they were during their Ocean Avenue days.
The next song had not been played live in years. “Gifts and Curses” from Spider-Man 2 movie soundtrack and a bonus track off Paper Walls. While not incredibly well known, this song can definitely be considered a hidden gem out of all of the band’s discography over the years. It was truly a special treat to hear the band play this one live!
The following song was “Cut Me, Mick” from Paper Walls, and while it may not be one of the band’s most popular songs, it is definitely a powerful song that every big Yellowcard fan enjoys. The next two songs were “Breathing” and “Empty Apartment” from Ocean Avenue. Both fan favorites, these classic Yellowcard songs brought lots of emotion to not only the “old-school” fans, but the newer fans as well.
Continuing to stick to their older discography, they did play one song off the very first record that was recorded when Key first joined the band in 1999. The band had not played any songs from the album One For the Kids since going on hiatus. This song was “October Nights,” in which Key claimed “some of you probably weren’t even born yet.” The band performed an acoustic version of the song, and if there is one lyric that the band wanted everyone to sing along to, it was definitely I wanna watch you dream some more.
The next two songs were “Hang You Up” and “Be The Young,” two songs off their comeback record When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. While “Hang You Up” was a single from the record, it was very refreshing to hear “Be The Young” be played. Finally, the last song of the main setlist was “Holly Wood Died,” another song from Lights and Sounds.
But of course the night wasn’t over just yet. As any Yellowcard fan would know, no Yellowcard show is over until the two songs that made the band breakthrough are played. “Only One,” which has definitely been considered an “emo rock ballad” and a concert staple throughout the years, was the second to very last song played. A single off their breakthrough record Ocean Avenue, this song always brings loads of nostalgia to anyone who listened to the radio back in the early-mid 2000s, regardless of being a Yellowcard fan or not.
Finally, it was time. It was the moment of the show that everyone had been waiting for. It was time for everyone to sing along to “Ocean Avenue” together one final time. I remember the look in your eyes, when I told you that this was goodbye. You were begging me not tonight, NOT HERE, NOT NOW. These lyrics were the genuine thoughts running through everyone’s mind as the song and the show was coming to its end. And before we all knew it, the band said their final thank yous and goodbyes to the crowd, and just like that, one of the best concerts of our lives, had come to an end. It was a night that every one would remember and cherish forever.
Contributed by Jina Bute | @earthtojina