A Day to Remember Reliant Arena October 20, 2013
Sunday night, A Day to Remember brought its "House Party Tour" to Houston, stopping at Reliant Center for an extended evening of flamboyance, fury and even a little bit of theater.
True to its name, the show began with a video prologue, set at vocalist Jeremy McKinnon's house, where the rest of his band had planned a house party without his knowledge or consent. Unpracticed, McKinnon corralled his band mates into his garage to prepare for the gig.
From there, the curtain dropped, revealing a two-story house and garage door, which opened to reveal the band as fans screamed their praises. ADTR came out swinging, beginning their set with "All I Want," in which McKinnon tells his listeners to keep their hopes high and their heads low.
For nearly two full hours, the crowd was hysteric. Circle- and mosh-pits abounded; clothes and water bottles were thrown overhead; the crowd surfing was incessant.
"Don't let me die, Houston," McKinnon said, emerging from behind the garage in a gigantic, plastic bubble a la Wayne Coyne. "I trust you!" And as he barreled toward the crowd, guitarist and backup vocalist Neil Westfall took over the reins for the first verse and chorus of "It's Complicated."
Before performing "You Had Me at Hello," a softer, melodic track off the group's 2005 debut album, McKinnon asked everyone to raise their cell phones into the air. Everyone obliged, except a handful of older fans who had lighters and went old-school with it.
During a cover of The Fray's "Over My Head (Cable Car)," Santa and a few of his elves pranced around the stage with T-shirt guns, shooting ADTR paraphernalia into the masses. A young woman threw her bra onstage, and the band responded in kind by tossing countless rolls of toilet paper into the crowd. Pyrotechnics became a regular thing about halfway through the show, too.
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For the encore, several fans were invited onstage to join in the festivities (aka attend the house party) for "All Signs Point to Lauderdale." A few police officers tried to shut down the party, but ADTR and their devoted followers were unswayed. It took a cardboard helicopter descending from the skies and literally setting the garage's roof on fire to finally bring the night to an end.
When all was said and done as the fire burned on, McKinnon announced that his bandmates were never again welcome to throw a party at his house. The band then held hands, took a simultaneous bow, and a curtain reading "The End" fell from the ceiling.
Pop-mosh has never been so polished.
Personal Bias: I first saw ADTR at Warehouse Live in 2011. I wasn't familiar with there music then but was so impressed by their performance, I got acquainted quickly. I was excited to see them again.
Overheard In the Crowd: Walking around the venue in a Texans T-shirt, one guy approached me and attempted to give me an unsolicited hug. As he stretched out his arms, he said, "Hug it out, man," and his facial expression read, "I know those feels."
Random Notebook Dump: Watching parents' faces at these concerts is priceless.
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