Concert Review: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

On April 29th, I made my way back home for a concert. Concerts are my favorite way to relieve some stress and to escape school work…or another mental breakdown as graduation approaches. Well, luckily for my best friend and I, we were able to escape reality and our crippling self-doubt about what the future has in store for us for about three hours and enter into the wilderness.

I have seen Andrew McMahon live various different times, each in a different city and at a different venue. Going into this performance, I knew it was going to be a unique show, in comparison to any of his other shows that I’ve been to. This show was compromised of an acoustic set. McMahon also would not be bringing his entire band to this show. Instead, he would be bringing along some friends. Some would be band mates from tour dates passed and others would be current band mates. Along with Andrew McMahon, Zac Clark, Bobby Oxblood, and Allen Stone all joined the show!

The night started with McMahon making his way onto the stage, which looked just how I could only imagine his own living room looks like. This includes a grand piano, a few picture frames filled with pets, and a toy train that rides along the piano. The set felt very welcoming, as if he was opening his home to all of his fans. As McMahon entered the stage in a sweater that closely resembled Mr. Rogers own, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” began to play throughout the venue. We were now officially in the neighborhood. A neighborhood of music lovers, who were coming together with one common purpose; to enjoy a Sunday night full of music.

Andrew McMahon played music from a range of projects he has been apart of. This included songs from both Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate, as well as a couple of bops from his current project, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. The show started solely with McMahon, but soon the stage began to fill up. Utilizing the unique set, one by one, each musician rang the doorbell before entering the stage. Of course, we welcomed them all into the neighborhood with open arms. First, came Zac Clark, then Bobby Oxblood, and finally, Allen Stone. The musicians made their way on and off stage throughout the show and each got to dabble with a solo piece here and there. Some even performed duets. To my surprise, I was completely blown away by a duet performed by Zac Clark and Allen Stone, called “Don’t Just Love Me Cause You’re Lonely.” It was easy to feel the emotions that these men were putting into this song, which is what music is all about.

As the night began to wind down, all of the musicians joined each other onstage to perform some classic songs for the crowd. In addition, McMahon and Stone physically made their way into the crowd to serenade some lucky concert goers. Upon entrance back to the stage, all four musicians came together to add beautiful vocal harmonies to McMahon’s piano playing. I could only imagine what listening to them while having synesthesia would be like.

Although McMahon did not perform crowd favorite, “Synesthesia,” he did perform some amazing jokes along with the other musicians. Not only did I feel like I was watching a concert, I felt like I was watching a tv show. Visually, the set made the show feel like it was straight out of a 90s sitcom. Furthermore, the jokes and light-hearted interactions with the crowd made me feel as if I was attending a stand-up comedy show. If they decided to start up a residency at Irving Plaza, they could probably give the SNL cast a few blocks away a good run for their money. Between the jokes and the music, I felt like I was just hanging out in a room with a couple hundred of my closest friends, a few who happen to be some of the most incredible musicians of our time. The only complaint I have about the show, is that it had to come to an end. The lights came back on and all I could think was that it surely was another beautiful day in the neighborhood!