Fans lined up around the outside of the Toyota Oakdale Theatre last Wednesday hours before doors or the scheduled meet and greet with A Day to Remember in order to ensure a good spot to see four phenomenal bands on what was set to be one of the best shows to hit the area this year. A Day to Remember is well known for their outrageous production and antics but the production and stage presence of each band on this tour was above and beyond expectations. When doors came and fans were finally able to get onto the floor they packed into the pit tightly from the very start because it was relatively small but that would not stop them from leaving everything they had there throughout the evening. All four bands also did a fantastic job of engaging those not in the pit but in seats throughout the venue and ensuring that they too were having a great time wherever they were.
Motionless in White took the stage first and started off the night on a fantastic note. They commanded the stage and engaged the crowd with the skill and enthusiasm of a headlining act despite being the first band of the night. When an evening is started with such energy and intensity the tone for the rest of the night is set. They were hands down one of the best opening acts of a tour this year. They took the stage with the look to match their attitude and edge. “Immaculate Misconception” was a great song choice to start of their set because it had fans screaming along from the moment Motionless in White started playing. The group had not yet released their album Reincarnate so when they played their single and title track they had the attention of every person in that room as the album was highly anticipated and fans were extremely excited to see what to expect from the new album both live and in general. Motionless in White demonstrated to fans that Reincarnate would bring the same passion and live energy as their previous albums. The record is now available on Fearless Records, be sure to check it out on iTunes here! The group closed out their set with one of their most popular songs “America” which was yet another fantastic choice as it brought the excitement of the crowd to a new level.
Chiodos took the stage next fresh off of their recent headlining tour with Blessthefall with yet another fantastic performance in the early weeks of the Parks and Devastation tour. They are a group that plays with such passion and intensity each and every time they take the stage which sets them apart from so many other groups in the genre. There has been a great deal going on with the band recently from having to leave the Crowd Surf America tour early to the departure of Derrick Frost and Matt Goddard, and subsequent addition of two new members Thomas Pridgeon and Joseph Troy. Despite all of the battles the band has been facing they took the stage and played their set without skipping a beat. Their passion and love for the music and their fans is clear from the energy each member brings to the group every time they take the stage.
For the Parks and Devastation tour they switched up their setlist from the usual songs and brought back some old favorites including “Themacare” and “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last a Minute on the Creek”. They also played two songs from their most recent release, Devil, which have very quickly become staple songs for live performances, “3AM” and “Ole Fishlips is Dead Now”. Keyboardist Bradley Bell spoke in an interview prior to the show of pulling together a setlist that will catch the attention of people who have not been fans of Chiodos for years; based on the crowd’s reaction to the set, the group certainly did a fantastic job of doing just that. Check out the interview with Bradley Bell from before the show! Frontman Craig Owens did a phenomenal job of engaging the crowd by regularly encouraging them to sing along with him. Guitarist Thomas Erak also does a fantastic job of bringing the energy of the crowd to a new level with his outrageous antics and performance while playing whether it be licking a mic, playing his guitar over his head or behind his head, or just screaming along with such blatant enthusiasm that fans cannot help but get even more into the set.
By the time Bring Me the Horizon took the stage the crowd was more than ready for what was likely one of the best performances they will see this year. Everything went black and the projection started. Circles rolled onto the screen one by one to eventually create the symbol that is the album cover for the group’s most recent release, Sempiternal. The ground began to shake and the excitement in the crowd built rapidly. As the beginning music of “Shadow Moses” started playing the crowd erupted into screams. “Shadow Moses” is a phenomenal live song that certainly kicks off a set in an engaging and high-energy fashion. The song gives frontman Oli Sykes the opportunity to encourage the crowd to get involved immediately and have them scream, “This is Sempiternal” along with him. The reaction of the crowd was unbelievable; it seemed as though everyone in the theatre screamed the lyrics in unison. As fans were screaming along, the words were projected onto the screen behind the band in a bold white font that provided a sharp contrast to the back background.
The setlist featured primarily songs from Sempiternal but also featured a song from both Suicide Season and There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret. These two songs, “Chelsea Smile” and “Alligator Blood”, respectively, both allowed for more angst and anger to come through in the performance. They both showcase the heavier side to Bring Me the Horizon and allowed the crowd to break out into a much more aggressive pit and for Sykes to engage the crowd and encourage action. Sykes even went as far as to encourage a wall of death during “Alligator Blood” which was certainly well received with a good majority of the pit joining in. Fan favorites from Sempiternal that were played include the single, “Go to Hell, for Heaven’s Sake”, “Can You Feel My Heart” and the closing song “Antivist”. “Can You Feel My Heart” brought a very powerful moment for the crowd as many fans sang along able to connect with the lyrics, band, and other fans in things they personally struggle with. “Antivist” drew an intense reaction for the crowd as they were able to scream along to the lyrics everyone can associate with in some way or another as no one likes to have information or opinions forced upon them.
A Day to Remember is a group known for their amazing stage presence and show production and this tour was absolutely no different. The tour title was Parks and Devastation and this theme was carried on throughout the entire production. The stage was set up like a park with the risers where band members can stand being designed to look like rocks, the ever changing backdrop designed to resemble Mount Rushmore, only instead of the Presidents’ faces it was the faces of each band member and would change to fit the song, and the entrance music was nature sounds. Even the passes for photographers matched the theme with the backdrop being the main design of the pass. The tour production did not stop there as the group once again one upped their previous tour; confetti cannons launched multiple times during the evening, once for the band’s entrance as the music began for “The Downfall of Us All” and at the end of their encore when they closed out the evening with “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle”. Frontman Jeremy McKinnon, as per tradition, also got into the massive inflatable ball, that looks a bit like a human’s version of a hamster ball, to run across the crowd but during the song “Homesick” for this tour. The group is also known for playful antics while on stage; this tour McKinnon laid on the ground as bassist Joshua Woodward and guitarist Kevin Skaff jumped over him. There was even a brief pause in live music about midway through the set for a quick Macarena dance on stage, which really seemed to amuse the crowd.
A Day to Remember has an extensive discography with what would seem like more fan favorites than can be fit into a setlist but they did an extremely good job this tour of keeping their few staple songs for live shows in the setlist but adding variety throughout the evening with newer and older favorites. The group won the right to self-release their album Common Courtesy a little less than a year ago and caught the attention of fans with both heavier favorites such as “Dead and Buried” and “Violence”, and with softer songs such as “End of Me” all of which made their setlist that night. Other favorites such as “2nd Sucks” and “All I Want” really got the crowd going and screaming along. Their entire encore was comprised of songs that no A Day to Remember show would be complete without. “If It Means a Lot to You”, “All Signs Point to Lauderdale”, and “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle” all made for a phenomenal end to an unforgettable evening.
The Parks and Devastation Tour is hands down the must see tour of the year. Each band on the tour puts on a fantastic live performance and commands the stage as if they are the headliner regardless of when they take the stage. They each bring a unique flair and energy to the tour, which makes this tour package particularly special; Motionless in White brings that dark creepy vibe that fans love, while Chiodos brings a passion for music that is written on the faces of each member of the band. Bring Me the Horizon brings such raw emotion and chilling moments that allows each member of the audience to connect better to the music and lyrics and A Day to Remember brings a playfulness and lightheartedness that lightens the mood and embodies music as an escape from whatever is going on outside of the venue walls. Fans left with smiles painted on their faces from what is likely to be one of the most memorable concerts they attend.