I'm back from my So Cal week long adventure. It was over in a flash but it was filled with moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life. One of those moments happened on the evening of the 18th of November in Los Angeles California.
By now you all know the main reason for my quick trip to the USA - the Dear Jack benefit concert. This was to be the first time I'd get to see Something Corporate live after listening to their music for over 6 years.
The day before I flew to the USA I posted on twitter the following message:
"Tomorrow I'm getting on a plane from Melbourne Australia to attend the first Annual @dearjackhq Benefit Concert. I'm excited. V excited!"
I received a few back and forth tweets/direct messages from the @dearjackhq (Official Dear Jack Foundation twitter) asking me if I'd be contactable while I was in the USA - turns out they wanted to make sure I met Andrew McMahon (lead singer from Jack's Mannequin & Something Corporate) at the show.
I spent the day of the show in LA on a city tour then shopping at Sephora before eagerly arriving at the El Ray Theatre on Wilshire Blvd at about 7.15pm.
I always find walking into an unfamiliar venue to be both exciting and daunting – you don’t know where you’re going but there a chance you’ll walk into your new favourite venue. The El Ray Theatre was just that – chandeliers and a plush red curtain covering the stage.
I managed to meet up with Steve from the Dear Jack Foundation (after confusion and a cryptic txt message) and organised to meet him after the show was finished so we could meet up with Andrew.
My heart was already in a flutter as Matt Nathanson took the stage. Under normal circumstances I would have really loved his set as he was engaging, funny and his music was quite charming – or maybe I’m remembering it wrong, I don't think so though. I can remember smiling and laughing and singing along to an acoustic rendition of “Highway to Hell”.
The curtains closed again and the crowd thickened. It got a little squishier but was much more tolerable than the squish factor at gigs at home. Excited nervous energy was the flavour of the day as we waited impatiently for those curtains to pull back again. When they did we were greeted with the glorious sounds of Jack’s Mannequin.
The setlist went a little like this:
- The Mixed Tape
- The Resolution
- I’m Ready
- Holiday From Real
- Dark Blue
- MFEO/You Can Breathe
I spent a lot of the time turning to Skye saying “this is my favourite song” because that’s how I feel about most Jack’s Mannequin songs. I think I sang along with a massive grin on my face throughout the set as they went from one song to the next. My heart almost broke in two when the opening chords of “Lullaby” began and again when “MFEO/You Can Breathe” began.
When the curtains closed again it felt like no time had passed. It was about time for the main event – Something Corporate.
I wasn’t really properly prepared for them to open with "Hurricane" but as the curtains opened and the music started my whole world froze. I couldn’t move, I could barely breathe – all I could do was watch and sing. Every note, every beat I felt and lived. It didn’t take long for my brain to snap back into gear and for my heart to slow down a bit. I sang and danced and smiled and almost cried (but I didn’t) as song after song was belted out onstage and through the speakers.
The band looked at home onstage – so happy to be there together after all these years. It was enjoyable to watch and their happiness would have been infectious to anyone not already in a state of overwhelming happiness (like I was).
I think the greatest moment of the evening came about when the band walked off stage before the encore. Usually the crowd will chant either the band’s name or “encore” but this night it was different – they chanted for “Konstantine”. Thankfully Andrew returned to the stage solo and began before the rest of the band joined him to play the song properly. I’ll be honest my eyes teared up and there were parts of the song that I could not sing or I was going to cry – this was by far one of the most amazing gig moments of my life. There is something about that song that drags me in every time and to finally be seeing it live was something I never expected to experience.
Something Corporate disappeared and the rest of Jack’s Mannequin joined Andrew onstage to close the night with "La La Lie" – halfway through the song Something Corporate returned and the two bands shared instruments, microphones and the stage to finish the song in a big fun sing along. The show finished with smiles and happiness which was absolutely perfect.
Setlist went like this:
- I Want to Save You
- Me and the Moon
- Watch the Sky
- Cavanaugh Park
- The Astronaut
- Punk Rock Princess
- I Woke Up in a Car
- Jack’s Mannequin - La La Lie ft. Something Corporate
We met up with Steve after the show and he took us upstairs to the “VIP” area where Andrew was hanging out with friends and family. Steve grabbed him and we ended up chatting to him about our holiday and what we had planned for the rest of our trip. He thanked us for making the trip and mentioned how much he loves Australia and how they’re talking about possibly doing an acoustic tour soon (to which I said “please don’t tell me things like that if it’s not going to happen – that’s not fair”).
I’ve been seriously struggling with my words for this blog post. It was such an amazing night of music that I don’t think the words that I have written do it any justice. I usually pride myself on the fact that I can just write about things quickly and without much fuss, but this time I think it meant too much and it’s still so fresh – I can’t find the proper words just yet.
I flew thousands of miles from Melbourne Australia to Los Angeles California to be at this show and it was worth every moment of those 14+ hours on a plane there and 14+ hours on a plane home to be at. I feel so lucky to have been a part of the night and to have finally seen Something Corporate live.
I want to thank Steve from the Dear Jack Foundation for being such an awesome person and looking after me and Skye and for making sure we met Andrew after the show. It was a little piece of unexpected kindness that meant the world to me. You’re the best Steve – I know you must have been super busy on the night and to take the time out to organise that for us was amazing!
Also thanks to Andrew for taking the time to stop hanging out with his family and friends and for having a chat and for being so lovely to us after the show. It’s always a pleasure to see your band(s) live and I’ll continue to travel great distances if I have to to see you again. To quote Eddie from Empire Records – your “music is the glue of the world. It’s what holds it all together.” If you do manage to make it to Australia for the possible acoustic tour you were talking about – I’ll be at every show.
It was the absolute perfect first day in LA - the very next morning we were up early to catch a bus across to Anaheim for 2 days in Disneyland. I'll share pictures (I have tons) and stories next.
Glitter Sparks & Happyness
x x x
P.S I know my pics are not the best from this show - you try taking photos when your hands won't stop shaking from excitement.