[Live] Jack’s Mannequin – 10 Years In Transit Tour @ House of Blues Anaheim

“This is A Story…”

On November 30, 2015 Andrew McMahon announced that Jack’s Mannequin would be getting back together to do a handful of shows in honor of the 10 year anniversary of their first album Everything in Transit, and I freaked out and walked around with a dorky grin on my face for the rest of the day.

When one of your favorite band reunites and goes on a 10 year anniversary tour for one of your favorite albums, you go. You just do. The morning the tickets went on pre-sale I was sitting in my first class of the day with my credit card in one hand and my phone in the other, refreshing the Applauze app as if my life depended on it. I was lucky enough to score a ticket to the sold out New Year’s Eve show at House of Blues Anaheim, and I spent the weeks leading up to the show annoying everyone I know about it. This show was the first date of the 10 day tour the band is doing to celebrate Everything in Transit and it was also the band’s hometown show. Attending a hometown show has always been a goal of mine, along with seeing Jack’s Mannequin live, it was nice to cross that little feat off of my bucket list.

Everything in Transit was the album that introduced me to the musical genius that is Andrew McMahon when I first heard it back in 2006. Discovering Jack’s Mannequin led to me discovering Andrew McMahon’s first band, Something Corporate, and I’ve been a fan of his work ever since. Andrew’s music got me through some pretty difficult times, and Jack’s Mannequin was one of the bands that came into my life at a time when I was developing my personal taste and finding out who I was (as cliché as that sounds), and I developed an emotional connection to the band. When they broke up I thought I had missed my chance to see them live, so seeing them on stage that night was dream.

I’m not going to lie, I felt like a loner standing outside the venue by myself as I waited for the doors to open, but as soon as I got inside I didn’t feel alone. I spent the night dancing and singing with an amazing group of people who were there because they had a similar connection to the band on stage.

The energy in the room increased tenfold as the lights dimmed and the band walked on stage and immediately started playing the album’s opening track, “Holiday From Real.” Concerts, and music in general, have always served as an escape from reality for me and that’s what I’ve always related this song to. I loved hearing everyone scream the “Fuck yeah we can live like this / But if you left it up to me / Everyday would be a holiday from real” at the top of their lungs, because the four hours that we were in that space were our holiday from real. The band went straight into “The Mixed Tape” and to say I was excited would be an understatement. Thanks to One Tree Hill, “The Mixed Tape” was the first song I heard off of EIT and it’s the reason I decided to check out the rest of the album. One of my favorite songs to sing along to, and one of my favorites on the album, is “I’m Ready.” My connection to this song isn’t as emotional as others, but it has a spoken interlude in which Andrew states: “When did society decide that we have to change / And wash a t-shirt after every individual use / If it’s not dirty I’m gonna wear it” and I relate to this because I too will wear the same outfit as many times as possible without washing it. (Doesn’t that make you want to be my friend?)

One of my favorite moments of the night came when the band had a bunch of their old friends come up on stage to help them perform “La La Lie.” If there’s one thing people should know about me it’s that I LOVE gang vocals, and this song just happens to feature them in the chorus. Some of the people that they brought on stage actually helped record the gang vocals for the album and I thought that was pretty cool.

I’d bet good money that even people who don’t know of Jack’s Mannequin know the song “Dark Blue.” This has always been one of those songs that I listen to when I’m feeling down and alone, but as we all sang “Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?” I definitely did not feel alone. “Dark Blue” was also the sole reason I wished I could play the piano when I was younger, and I loved seeing Andrew give his all when he was playing this song. The band played “MFEO” and then exited the stage as Andrew’s spoken outro for the album played. After a quick break they came back out on stage and played their second set which included the “bonus chapter” from Everything in Transit, “Into the Airwaves” as well as a few songs from their other two albums, The Glass Passenger and People And Things.

The part of the night that really got to me was when the band performed “Swim” and “The Resolution” – both off of The Glass Passenger. There are only a few people who know that I went into a pretty bad depression as a side effect to some undiagnosed health problems that I dealt with in high school. Music was where I found solace during this time and these two songs were on constant rotation. “Swim” has been my song for as long as I can remember. I cried the first time I heard it, and I still get emotional whenever I listen to it, so it’s no surprise that I got teary-eyed when they started playing it. I screamed the lyrics “I swim for brighter days / Despite the absence of sun / Choking on saltwater / I’m not giving in / I swim” at the top of my lungs and I was certain my voice was going to go out. We all have that one song that means the world to us and “Swim” is mine. The emotions kept flowing when the band played “The Resolution” and we all sang “I’m alive / But I don’t need a witness / To know that I survive / I’m not looking for forgiveness / Yeah I just need light / I need light in the dark as I search for the resolution.” It was amazing to hear all of those voices sing those words with so much conviction, whatever our reasons may have been.

With about 10 minutes left until midnight, Andrew went on a little tangent about how he was afraid they were going to play right through the countdown and “fuck up everyone’s New Year” before playing the song “Restless Dream.” Finishing the song with a few minutes to spare, the band brought all of their friends and family members that were at the show up on stage and then the countdown began! I can honestly say that I have never had a bigger smile on my face than I did counting down to the New Year with a band that means the world to me and a thousand strangers.

My last show of 2015 was my first show of 2016, and as the confetti cannons went off and the balloons dropped and the band went into a cover of “American Girl” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, I knew that I couldn’t have chosen a better way to ring in the New Year.

Morgan Griffin-McNair

Morgan Griffin-McNair

Morgan is a music enthusiast and avid concert goer. When she's not looking for new music to listen to or hanging out at a show she can usually be found practicing photography or exploring new places.