BY JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine
There are two things that are always guaranteed to happen at an A Day To Remember show.
The first is that if you try to count the number of flannel shirts on guys with beards, you will be there FOREVER.
The second is that the crowd will more than willingly put themselves in harms way to accomplish what is known as the “Human Surfboard.”
Thirdly (yes, there’s a third) is that my beard will somehow manage to find its way into the grasp of an intoxicated 40-something lamenting that her husband can’t grow a beard.
And on an unusually chilly evening in Arizona on October 27, 2022, all of those things happened in one way or another.
But at any rate, with the lineup of the night there was no way to get a bad performance out of anyone, so let’s dive in!
Magnolia Park was first up on the list, and these fellas always put on a high energy performance. Being the top layer in the Florida sandwich that was the evening, the Orlando boys came out swinging like they do every time they hit the stage. This marks the third time I’ve covered Magnolia Park, as I saw them open for the likes of Neck Deep earlier this year, and they opened up for Sum 41 and Simple Plan as well.
And the great thing about them, is that they get tighter with each performance. Drummer Joe Horsham played shirtless – again – for the Arizona audience, to which one fan shouted, “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” as the band laughed before beginning their set. Magnolia Park is one of the rising stars in the pop-punk genre, and their clever mix of lyrics and vocals make them a must-see act before they blow up like A Day To Remember did. Notable tracks included “10 for 10,” “Liar,” and “Feel Something.”
Up next was this little band called Movements. The sun had begun to set a little over the crowd as they took the stage to an overwhelmingly positive reception. One young audience member in the front row mentioned that they were only here for this band – and that’s how you know you’re in for a treat. While they weren’t as mobile as Magnolia Park was, their music resonates so strongly with their fans, and I think that’s more important. In 100 years, no one is going to remember if you jumped around on stage, but they will remember the words that you screamed. Notable tracks included “Third Degree,” “Cherry Thrill,” and “Daylily.”
After a change over on stage, it was time for The Used to take the stage. Vocalist Bert McCrackin (doesn’t that sound like a name you’d make up in middle school? It does a little) crawled out on all fours to take the microphone to an eruption of screams and shouts from the crowd.
Fake name or not, it’s antics like this that make him a great frontman for a band. Rocking shorter hair than he has in previous years, McCrackin did it all, from interacting with the fans in the audience to creating a wall of death.
“Here’s what we’re gonna do,” he said. “We’re gonna divide the line into two, and then when the music starts you’re going to run into each other like wild animals,” he instructed.
And the fan base was happy to oblige. Right when the music kicked in, they all ran into each other like some sort of sweaty meat pendulum, which was quite the spectacle having viewed it up on top of the hill looking down. It’s difficult to put into words just how incredible this performance was, though. The emo-mainstays played a TON of hits, including “The Bird and the Worm,” which made everyone in the venue lose their shit. From the moshing, the crowd-surfing, and the prosthetic leg (yep, you read that right) held up during a few moments…it was an absolutely wild time. Through pounding lights and a captivating, illuminated logo staged above the drummer, it was a performance that the fans won’t soon forget. Other notable tracks included “Taste of Ink,” “Blow Me,” and “Pretty Handsome Awkward” (which Bert informed us was a song about how sexy he was).
Then the time came for the top to be put on the Florida sandwich.
A giant curtain raised above the stage for A Day To Remember, who hail from Ocala, Florida.
There was an audible stillness right before the lights went out – the calm before the storm.
Jeremy McKinnon was heard behind the curtain, “Sing it if you fucking know it!” as they launched into “Downfall of us All” which has come to define their opening some choice since 2009 when they released arguably one of the best albums of all time in Homesick.
Did they do the same antics in 2014 that they also did in 2019?
But did they do the same antics in 2019 that they did in 2022?
But that doesn’t matter – the fan base of ADTR is fiercely loyal, and thousands of fans have attributed their music to saving their life or hearing it in the right moment for it to be impactful. I lost count of the number of ADTR tattoos I was shown that evening amidst the sea of plaid shirts, but it’s safe to say that quite a few humans, myself included, have chosen to ink tracks that mean a lot to us.
Pounding the audience with oversized beach balls, streamers, and toilet paper has come to be a mainstay for ADTR, as well as the human surfboard. “Now, I have to tell you that this is dangerous and that you absolutely should not do it. But we’re here to have fun, right? So do it if you want to!” McKinnon shouted.
And while several attempted, there were only a small handful of humans who could complete the task. I’m sure it’s much easier on a surface that isn’t mostly sloped, although walking around in the grass was a nice change of pace from the hard concrete of a concert hall. It was a solid performance through and through, although McKinnon did seem a little tired. But if I spent all my time touring the world and creating one of the most memorable bands of all time, I’d be exhausted, too.
Did I mention that they came out to play a 4 song encore? Other notable tracks included, “I’m Made of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?” “Resentment,” “Miracle,” and “If It Means A Lot To You.”
Thank you to the Mesa Amphitheater staff for creating a safe environment for us to enjoy this show, and a BIG SHOUT to the security guards up front who spent quite a bit of time catching crowd surfers. Remember to keep being excellent to each other, to keep buying deodorant, and we’ll see ya at the next show!
A Day to Remember