Shows like this one reveal the futility of trying to review a show. Every time I check on this site, someone is reviewing a show they just went to and giving it a 5-star rating. And every single time I look at one of those reviews, I think to myself that it's just some kid being hyperbolic about just another show. Maybe my cynicism comes from attending a lot of shows in the past year that were sub par. Maybe I was shooting for quantity, not quality.
I'm going to give this show a 10/10. And already I know that this will bring a slew of haters into the comments section. Actually, I almost didn't write this review because I felt it would be so poorly recieved by most of the people on this site.
Well, fuck 'em.
I realize now: Whenever I'm seeing a 5-star review and ludicrous amounts of praise for a band, it's because that band means something to that reviewer, which brings me back to the point that reviewing this stuff is near pointless, because people generally will have their own opinions about this stuff. So right now, this review is only for fans of the Get Up Kids, which saves it from being pointless I suppose.
If the Get Up Kids over the past 10 years have ever meant anything to you -- you've rocked out to your old Woodson 7" in high school, you've laid in your dorm room late at night listening to "I'll Catch You," or you've heard "Martyr Me" at your wedding reception. At least for me, the Get Up Kids have meant so much to me for much of my formative years, from adolescence to becoming a young adult.
We'll just cut straight to the Get Up Kids taking the stage, because that's when the show really began for me. Some unsigned band played first (they were okay), and then the French Kicks played (they were also okay, but eventually got really Coldplay-style boring). Some friend of the band came out and started telling some jokes, who was eventually tackled offstage by the band themselves. Immediately they picked up their instruments, all of them with big smiles. They exploded right into "Coming Clean" and seemed to be loving it.
One of the things that was very apparent during the entire show is that the Get Up Kids were loving it. Each stop on this tour for them was a momentous occasion, as it would be the last time they would ever be playing in each of those cities. Philadelphia was loving the Get Up Kids and they were loving right back.
After "Coming Clean," they played "Holiday," followed by "Action & Action." The set ran the whole gamut of their entire catalogue, even their early EPs and 7 inches. They had little improvisations on a lot of the songs, like a slowed down, bouncy ending to "Woodson" and an extended intro to a lot of songs, especially "Red Letter Day." The band was in high spirits the whole night, joking around about a fake set list their friend made for them with codenames representing songs. Guitarist Jim Suptic started having trouble with remembering what the codenames meant, so he just gave his fake set list to a fan in the crowd. Keyboardist James Dewees was another comedic highlight of the night, cracking jokes about the fact that Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba was at the show. James kept provoking him to come out and eventually he did come out to do back-up vocals on "Don't Hate Me" (direct all Dashboard hatred here please). And while Dashboard isn't exactly my cup of tea, if he's singing backup for Get Up Kids, I can't complain about it.
Sometimes the band would open a beer and talk to each other as the audience settled down between songs, prompting Jim to turn to Matt Pryor, Rob Pope, and Ryan Pope and say "Uh, guys, there's a show goin' on over here." Before heading into a rendition of "Never Be Alone," Pryor came to the mic and said, "This song is about..." and paused, to which Rob replied, "You can say it." Pryor finished "This is about Rob's ex-wife." "Psycho," Rob added.
Suptic brought out an acoustic guitar to sing solo on "Campfire Kansas," as the band danced around him, drinking and laughing. Drummer Ryan Pope came out hitting a tambourine behind Suptic as he called out, "The driver he seemed to be [insert crowd yelling and holding up faux-dismembered digits] missing a finger!" Eventually, Ryan just put the tambourine around Suptic's neck and danced away.
This really was more of a celebration, not only for the Get Up Kids, but a celebration of the Get Up Kids -- it was not just for them, it was for the fans too. And we were all in in the party. Mid-set they stopped and told tales of their adventures in Philly. Pryor asked, "Do my eyes deceive me, or is that a circle pit I see in the back?" A cheer from the back section. "Well, it just wouldn't be Philly without a circle pit." Sure, we're in a city known for having violent fans (Eagles/Phillies fans are the reason stadiums now sell plastic beer bottles instead of glass). They asked who was at one of their earlier shows at the First Unitarian Church (arguably Philly's best venue) where there was a huge fight. "Someone got stabbed with a bottle or something," Dewees added, also continuing to call us "Killadelphia" from that point forward.
They ended with "Is There A Way Out," a song that I never really liked that much until I saw smokey white lights pouring down on the band as they played it. They left the stage to an incredible applause. When they came back for the encore, Pryor said, "Give it up for our drummer, Ryan Pope," who then started the kick-snare, kick-snare intro to "Ten Minutes." The crowd probably went crazier than ever before at that point. They followed that with "Out Of Reach," the Cure cover "Close To Me," and the Replacements cover "Beer For Breakfast." The final song of the night was "I'll Catch You," and it was hard to not be sentimental at a moment like that.
I will always remember the Get Up Kids as one of my favorite bands of my youth. Even when other bands have faded out of my liking, Get Up Kids have remained a constant presence. Somewhere in between all the goofy pop-punk bands I listened to when I was younger and all of the pretentious art rock bands I listen to these days, the Get Up Kids will always be a shining gem -- not too childish, but not overly serious. The Get Up Kids were and always will be in the memories of thousands, a group of five normal guys from Kansas that anyone can relate to.
Thank you Get Up Kids for those 10 years.
What they played (not near the correct order, also I may forget some songs):
- ACTION & ACTION
- RED LETTER DAY
- OUT OF REACH
- TEN MINUTES
- I'M A LONER DOTTIE, A REBEL...
- I'LL CATCH YOU
- COMING CLEAN
- DON'T HATE ME
- NO LOVE
- NEVER BE ALONE
- MARTYR ME
- IS THERE A WAY OUT
- LET THE REIGNS GO LOOSE
- CAMPFIRE KANSAS
- CLOSE TO ME (Cure cover)
- BEER FOR BREAKFAST (Replacements cover)
- MASS PIKE