By Colin Driehorst
When Hooligan asked if I was interested in covering Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park last weekend, I accepted without even having to think about it. I’m a huge fan of his music, dating back to the early 2000s when he was in a band called Something Corporate, through the time when he recorded under Jack’s Mannequin, and up to now with his newest act.
He was the opening act for Weezer and Panic! At the Disco. The band started on time, opening with “All Our Lives,” off of McMahon’s most recent self-titled album.
With the help of the band’s stage presence, combined with the July sunset and outdoor venue, it felt like summer. Fans were sitting on the grass or in stadium seats while others stood, danced, and sang. The band wore tailored pants and tie-dyed dress shirts with ties. A large tapestry of pastel colors and kaleidoscope shapes hung behind them.
During the chorus of one of the songs they played, three of inflatable, dancing men that you’d see at car dealerships moved behind them. At some point, Andrew brought out a parachute and had everyone pass it around.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if the rest of our lives looked like this?” he asked.
They energetically played through most of their self-titled album, which is undoubtedly ten tracks of pop summer bliss. Bringing back both the past and introducing the future, they played the hit Jack’s Mannequin track “Dark Blue” and a few new hits.
When he wasn’t playing or jumping on his piano, Andrew bounded around the stage and sang his heart out. He seemed genuinely happy to be there, and excited to entertain a stadium full of people.
While they were just opening for this particular show, their set was no different than when I’ve seen them before, it was just shorter. They put the same effort into an opening slot that they did while headlining at the Hard Rock in Vegas.
This show reflected Andrew's music as it has always been and will be - meaningful, passionate, and filled with energy.