With the promise of old songs finally being played again, hundreds flocked to Irving Plaza for the tour stop this time around.
Outside of the room I was in, finishing up a Hot Rod Circuit interview, I could tell that Boys Night Out was doing their "Yeah, No…I Know"/"Where We Breathe" intro as they opened things up. Watching "(Just Once) Let's Do Something Different" on a TV monitor in the lobby as 'thriceequalsgod' finally came into the venue, the band looked energetic as always as their drummer, Ben, gave it his all for his last show in New York. When I finally got into the crowd, the band finished up with "The First Time It Shouldn't Taste Like Blood," "Sketch Artist Composite," and "I Got Punched…"
I watched Hot Rod Circuit from the balcony. The left stage guitarist's manic, floor-crawling energy was the highlight of their set, but the triple guitar emo rock attack and Andy's heartfelt lyrics of wrought-gone love were nice additions, as the crowd either hung on his every word or danced it up in an open area on the floor like tripped-out hippies. The band seemed a little tired towards the end of their set, but still executed "At Nature's Mercy," "The Pharmacist" (oddly played right in the middle of the set), "Irish Car Bomb," and an Archers of Loaf cover, which Andy said will be on Reality's Coming Through, among a few others nicely.
Then came the time for worry. Again I fretted that putting a Stay What You Are spin on all the old songs would again kill the moment. Saves the Day, however, alleviated my fears. They were smart about it by sticking to mostly classics in a midtempo pace, so they weren't hurt too badly. "Always Ten Feet Tall" and "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic" stuck out though, as the respective breakdowns captured the songs' emotions amazingly. They opened with "Holly Hot Forget Me Nots," and also played "The Choke" (which could've been a little faster), "Where Are You," "Tomorrow Too Late," "In Reverie," "Jukebox Breakdown," "This Is Not An Exit," "As Your Ghost Takes Flight," "I'm Sorry I'm Leaving," "Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off to Heaven," "All-Star Me," "Drag in D Flat," and a couple others. There was a keyboardist on stage helping out, whom did some backup vocals too, but otherwise the band looked pretty normal. The entire time, Chris was thanking the crowd for the response; he was consistently grateful (that's what happens when you play old shit, Chris!). Eben played in that "in-his-own-world" sense he always does. The three-song encore included "Anywhere With You" (just for fun, I sang the chorus line of "Buddy Holly" over the opening riff and it fit perfectly), "Shoulder to the Wheel," and not surprisingly ending with "At Your Funeral." They were the best I'd seen them yet, so if you're still aching to hear the oldies live again, this might be your last chance.