A lot can be said to sum up the weight of ten years. This is no understatement when it comes to Jack’s Mannequin’s Everything In Transit which was first released in August of 2005. Ten years later: a sold out Regency Ballroom in San Francisco is the first destination on the celebratory 10 Years In Transit tour. As one could guess, the evening was nothing short of magical.
The night begins with a performance from She Is We, who takes a moment in between opening songs to tell the crowd about their 15 hour drive to perform for us and how they worried the entire time only two people would be into their set. Oh, how they were mistaken.
Their 45 minute set list was filled with plenty of ups and downs — from explaining what beloved He is We song, ‘Radio’ was written about (according to Rachel it was for a kid who wore Slipknot t shirts to school so she thought he was, and I quote, ‘legit’). To the shift in energy from talking about her father and the time he first heard her song and cried. Then to her mother whom she dedicated ‘Porcelain’ and ‘Boomerang’ to, encouraging the crowd to visualize throat-punching someone.
Their performance was the best warm-up for Jack’s Mannequin. They closed their set with ‘Lead The Fight On’ which Rachel playfully teased at their adding something a bit ‘urban’ just for us. The song began with a beautiful piano to the strong vocals causing the chandeliers in the venue to shake. Mid-song, they break into another completely nostalgic throwback and rap the verse from Eminem’s 8 Mile: opportunity comes once in a lifetime.
The crowd is given just enough time to soak in She is We’s amazing performance (and plenty of laughs due to a stage mishap and the confetti shooting off prematurely). The lights dim and all that can be see is the large, glimmering asterisk above the stage. Sounds of venice beach echo throughout San Francisco as Andrew McMahon and the original members of Jack’s Mannequin take the stage, jumping right into ‘Holiday From Real’ and ‘The Mixtape’ before performing Everything In Transit in it’s entirety, track by track.
McMahon slows down only once it is time to perform La La Lie — which he explains is done best with friends. The stage is crowded with numerous friends, fans and loved ones to help Andrew McMahon sing along to this harmonica hit. McMahon leaves his piano numerous times to jump around, sing with everyone on stage and as the song comes to an end, everyone is given hugs all around for what is truly a memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience for Jack’s Mannequin fans who may have dreamed of that very moment for the last ten years.
Transit comes to an end, complete with the cue tracks that wrapped up the actual record (“Well, that’s the record…”). Andrew McMahon takes a moment to explain to us, with the assumption so many fans already know, that Everything In Transit was an album that meant everything to him in a time when he needed anything. Us too, Andrew.
He continues on to explain the aftermath of Everything In Transit left him banging his head against his piano, not knowing what else could be said which later became the next song performed: Crashing. The venue is dark and fans are left to wonder, is that it? Of course not. Jack’s Mannequin goes hard into songs off of their sophomore album, The Glass Passenger, starting with Crashing and working their way through a very emotional six songs.
Just prior to performing the emotional track, ‘Swim’, Andrew McMahon takes the time to open up to fans about his own personal journeys. He highlights the Dear Jack foundation and their commitment to love, hope and strength. Swim is then dedicated to us, to anyone who has ever felt like there was a mountain they couldn’t climb…but they climbed it. His piano echoes beautifully throughout the two-storey venue, the message: just keep your head above, an incredibly powerful one.
We finally see Jack’s Mannequin exit the stage, leaving the crowd begging for more. After just a few minutes, Andrew McMahon and Bobby Anderson return on a dark stage with just a single spotlight illuminating them both. McMahon takes a moment to say what a pleasure it is to have Bobby back on stage with him before giving us a story of their next song. A theme song of sorts. To the shortest movie in which Andrew was so excited to write for. ‘Channing Tatum is going to be in it! It’s going to be amazing!’ he tells us, but the song was not accepted for the movie and McMahon was glad for that, saying the song was so much better. It wasn’t a song meant for the piano, but something more acoustic. They perform ‘Restless Dream’ for us, a beautiful acoustic performance leaving us with chills. What else can be said other than a single word: perfection.
The energy is picked back up one last time as the band rejoins the duo on stage to end their set with ‘Resolution’. Just when we think this encore could not become any more special, Jack’s Mannequin closes the night with a Tom Petty cover of ‘American Girl’, Jack’s Mannequin style. Andrew McMahon goes from passionately playing the song on his piano to jumping off from it, crowd surfing above adoring fans, dancing back on stage, giving the night his all to kick off the first date of the Everything In Transit tour. The venue bathes in golden lights, the stars from the backdrop glimmering as a perfect night comes to an end.
Truth be told; this show left us speechless. And finding the words to sum up the weight, impact, importance of an album that we carried with us these past ten years is no easy task. Thank you, Jack’s Mannequin. For tonight and certainly, for these past ten years.