Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness Concert Review

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Last night at the Beacham in Orlando, music fans were in for a treat as Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness was headlining his first show there since he adopted his latest moniker. But before McMahon graced the stage, we were treated with the surprisingly engaging opening act Junior Prom.

Being an opening act is generally pretty difficult. Usually it is hard for any opener to get the audience’s attention, and if they do, they then must be able to convince the audience to remember them after the show is over. Junior Prom is most definitely memorable. The duo from New York was lively and extremely talented, warming up the freezing cold audience (freezing might be an overstatement, but we’re experiencing a cold front and Floridians really aren’t equipped for this kind of weather) in time for the main event. I was very impressed with how, for a duo, they were able to create the sound and presence of an entire band. They used a backing track for some songs, but more impressively was lead singer Mark Solomich playing guitar and live looping sample tracks on a keyboard to his right. Solomich was adorably dorky in his dance moves, which kind of reminded me of a 50’s rock musician. He gave this great little speech with a somewhat existentialist vibe in the middle of their set, asking the audience if they would break down their barriers with him and spread the love, asking them to look around at the people they came with and the strangers next to them and then “grind up on ‘em.”

…well that was a twist.

McMahon, of course, was incredible. After over a decade of playing music, the man’s talent and charisma is continuously filling up the hearts of fans across the nation, helping us, as Andrew put it, “leave our problems on the other side of the doors” and just enjoy everything he gave us. And he gave us his all. He was especially talkative, giving us little anecdotes throughout the night and interacting with the audience with hilarious results, leaving me laughing as much as I was cheering.

Before going into a favorite of mine, “Bruised,” McMahon launched into a tale of how the song ended up on the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack. He gave us a hilarious anecdote about how bassist and close friend of his, Adam Siska (formerly of The Academy Is…) called him up about putting a song of his on the soundtrack of this new movie. Andrew joked, citing that the film really just needed anything that would make it sell and he figured “why not” before launching into a rousing version of the song.

The highlight of the night was when Andrew sat down at the piano, alone, and did an acoustic version of “Holiday from Real.” That song is generally one of the pump-up songs in live shows so it was exciting to hear it slowed down and raw. During the line “Some cheap red wine” which has an echo on the recording, the audience sang the echo perfectly and Andrew just stopped, completely losing his cool, thinking that was hilarious. “Ladies and gentlemen, the boys and girls choir of Orlando” he said before trying to start up where he left off. He tried multiple times, but he was still laughing too much at the absurdity of the situation to play properly. Finally he just looked at the audience and said “I don’t know what the f*** to do now.”

Other classic moments included McMahon shushing the audience while trying to tell a story, him getting into the audience and dancing with them while singing “La La Lie,” and him threatening a rowdy girl in the audience by telling her “I’m going to punch you in the f***ing head” before realizing what he just said and following it up with a promise to meet her outside after the show and give her a big hug. A promise, by the way, he made good on. He stood outside the venue after the show and met every fan waiting for him.

All in all, it was a fantastic show. He played a lot of songs off the new record but he also threw in a lot of Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate favorites. You can check out the full set list below:

Setlist

Canyon Moon

Dark Blue

Watch the Sky

See Her on the Weekend

I’m Ready

Halls

Bruised

High Dive

Amy, I

Me and the Moon

All Our Lives

Holiday From Real

Rainy Girl

Cavanaugh Park

Maps for the Getaway

Resolution

I Woke Up in a Car

Cecilia and the Satellite

 

Encore

La La Lie

Synesthesia

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