– Words by Jordan Buford / Music by James Villa –
Gas Monkey Live – Saturday, March 7th, 2015
When you think about it, a band celebrating their fifteenth year together seems weird. Perhaps more just a little unorthodox. I mean, how many bands have you known to actually do 15th anniversary tour? I can’t think of that many, personally. Then again, how many bands even make it fifteen years?
Bayside is one of them; and their anniversary tour was stopping at Gas Monkey Live in Dallas this night, where their fans had come out in droves.
They had prepared a sizable set list, too, one that killed 74-minutes in almost the blink of an eye.
They added a slight touch of humor to it, taking the stage at 10:36 with the Harry Potter Theme song playing over the PA system.
Things shifted drastically when Chris Guglielmo hammered away at his drum kit, getting them started on “Pigsty” moments after they had all taken the stage. “The Walking Wounded” further accelerated the pace with its lighting fast speed. Jack O’Shea really shone on that one, being completely in the zone as he attacked his guitar; while the crowd surfers came out in full force, numerous ones being passed towards the front of the stage at any given moment.
The fans then went wild as singer and rhythm guitarist Anthony Raneri led them seamlessly into “Duality”. “Who let, who let this feeling die, when all I did was try?” much of the audience sang along with him. Most everyone was hanging on to practically every word, including one young woman I noticed simply because she seemed to be in a state of pure bliss as she sung each line.
“We’re all just here to dance and have a good time, right?!” bassist Nick Ghanbarian asked after another track, wanting to somewhat make sure things didn’t get too out of hand. Having so many offerings planned for this show, they didn’t allow much time for chitchat; and moved right on to “Megan”, slowing things down some, before reaching an explosive stretch that began with “Already Gone”.
The crowd began clapping along to the percussion, later being encouraged by Raneri to sing along with him, something they did with delight, while O’Shea beamed at everyone. The same fan participation was still going strong on “You’re No Match”, with the music somewhat dying down for the fans’ collective voice to be heard on the last chorus, “You were the monster I was scared you’d be…”
“Thanks for spending your Saturday night with us,” Ghanbarian said to everyone, truly sounding grateful. Raneri then joked that this was their “quinceañera”, cracking they had unfortunately gotten their dresses dirty, though they had looked “fabulous”. “Anyone have the Killing Time record?” he then asked, satisfying everyone as they pulled out “Mona “Lisa”. I mentioned how into the show people had been, though they appeared even more passionate as they sung along to that one.
“Stuttering” was another notable song when it happened a couple tracks later; and Raneri took on a frontman role on the next one, handing his guitar off to what I assume was one of their techs to play for “Landing Feet First”. The song was great in the first place, though the fact that it was different from anything else they did made it even better; and Raneri seemed to know just what to do to work the crowd up as he strolled around the stage.
“They Looked Like Strong Hands” ended the set, or that’s how it seemed. They didn’t do what I would consider to be a traditional encore, though. Sure, they all left the stage and fans did start shouting for more; but in no time at all, you heard Raneri speak. But where was he? The stage was empty.
“He’s behind us!!!” I heard someone say. Right at that moment everyone had realized he was out in the crowd, standing at where barely anyone had been. He was surrounded almost instantly. He treated everyone to “Don’t Call Me Peanut”, encouraging the people to sing along with him, which they did, almost overpowering him in this stripped down setting. The enthusiasm of which people sung it in, you could tell it held a personal meaning to many.
They kicked it back in “Big Cheese”, going into overdrive at this point. “…Here’s to fifteen more!” said Raneri, making a toast of sorts as he thanked not only everyone for coming out this night, but for the last decade and a half of support, as they closed out the night with “Devotion and Desire”. The singer even turned the microphone stand around towards the end, leaving it all up to the crowd.
My only regret is I had never taken the time to listen to Bayside before seeing them this night. The strong lyrically messages worked in to every song have the power to resonate with you. I completely understand why nearly everyone was singing along at the top of their lungs.
The four guys put on a mean show, too. A ton of energy was packed into it; and I found myself becoming more enthralled with each passing song. The fact that they were so unrelenting for the bulk of the show allowed them to build a nice flow; and when they did break, they kept it concise.
Hopefully there will be another fifteen years of Bayside at the very least; and congrats to them for lasting fifteen in the first place.