Skip to main content

See also:

YELLOWCARD's Ocean Avenue Still Resonates Resoundingly A Decade Down

OCEAN AVENUE 10th Anniversary Show was MIND-BLOWING!
OCEAN AVENUE 10th Anniversary Show was MIND-BLOWING!
James P. Callahan

By: Jaime' En Fuego, Phoenix Concerts Examiner

From Unplugged To Electrified!
James P. Callahan

Nostalgia has always been big business!

Things like biting into a burger from your favorite restaurant as a kid or revisiting the first roller coaster you mustered enough courage to ride come to mind, yet for many the most thrillingly fulfilling walks down memory lane come from works of art. The emotional connections we forge with creative mediums like film or music, especially in the earlier years of our lives when everything we encounter is so fresh and new, are often the strongest bonds and reminisced upon with the most fondness. This is why classic films get re-released into theaters every generation in an effort to remind those already aware of their merit and to proudly present greatness to a whole new audience as well. The same theory holds true for popular musicians who have more frequently than ever been not just revisiting prolific albums on monumental anniversaries with deluxe reissues but actually staging full-on concerts and even tours to perform a seminal record in it's entirety. This is also not a genre specific tactic either. Roger Waters recently reenacting The Wall was a GINORMOUS undertaking beyond just music means while groups like Megadeth unleashing complete sets of the early 90's releases from their commercial apex and A Perfect Circle playing all three of their LP's in three nights had such wow factor because neither had been done before. And in a healthy reminder about just how quickly time actually does move comes the 10-Year Anniversaries of landmark releases during that snapshot in time for those who came of age around the millennium when groups of impassioned punks like YELLOWCARD, who urgently and unapologetically wore their hearts on their sleeves, captured worldwide attention.

The Jacksonville by way of L.A. group forged a distinctive identity with monstrous drumming counterbalanced by melodic majesty from a violin of all instruments, a novel pairing for songwriting that often employs such adrenaline racing tempos, then shed an Underdog status by jumping to the big leagues in 2003 with the release of their major label debut Ocean Avenue. The record did what few may have expected aside from the band members themselves by hitting the mainstream as hard as drummer LP's crashing fills and as high as frontman Ryan Key's soaring choruses. The blistering "Way Away" and ballad-worthy "Only One" saw strong success on radio with the biggest impression coming from the title track's music video blowing up on MTV back when they still lived up to their 'Music Television' name. "Ocean Avenue" the song went as far as topping the 'Boy Bands & Pop Tarts 2.0' dominated landscape of Total Request Live and pushed it's namesake past platinum status sales in the United States alone. To this day YELLOWCARD are still stellar as ever on 2012's Southern Air which debuted at number 10 on the Billboard Top 200, only their second career creation to complete such a feat. Still, there is always something special about things like your first car, first kiss or in this case their first collection of songs to touch people's lives on a far larger scale than many dream of.

Ocean Avenue is what in many ways put YELLOWCARD on the musical map so it seemed like a no-brainer to bring listeners back to get re-acquainted with the brilliance of its youthful urgency and heartfelt earnesty 10 years later. To the surprise and delight of many, this notion coming to fruition came with a bit of a twist as the proceedings were confirmed to be actually dialing things back a bit to lay emotions more bare in the intimacy of an acoustic only setting for both a recorded release of the entire album plus a tour to follow where each evening would commence with all 13 tracks played from start to finish unplugged. Ocean Avenue Acoustic the album hit eager ears of the band's fans last August and served as a perfect precursor to drum up anticipation for partaking in this exceptional experience of remembrance in person. The response was so solid in fact that even after touring across Europe, Australia and much of the United States a second leg was added to the jaunt just to make certain there were as many opportunities as possible to witness recollections of adolescent bliss!

Speaking first hand, it was a momentous experience! Certain tracks were obviously a given to translate seamlessly to the altered approach such as "One Year, Six Months" while others required a bit more re-imagining and reconfiguring like this stripped down approach to "Empty Apartment" that makes the song emanate with a more somber, mature melancholy yet never forgetting where the heart is. Captured here for the group's January 18 Mesa, Arizona stop at the 'World Famous' Nile Theater, a dense all-ages club where YELLOWCARD frequently played during their formative independent years following relocating to California, represented a cathartic, coming full circle for the band and their fanbase alike. Those younger followers not around for Ocean Avenue's initial debut can finally revel in its immense relevance live, yet more importantly, those 'Back Home' and now likely with families of their own will not just be jumping into a 10 year timewarp then on their merry ways. Once the acoustic stylings have ceased things get electrified with a showcase of awesomeness crafted in the decade since that might have been overlooked as we all got older and lives got crazier, most notably trakes like "The Takedown" from just before the group went on brief hiatus and "Always Summer" from their latest studio effort that boasts a vibrance and hook that would have seemlessly fit anywhere on their breakthrough: "I loved you first, I love you still, I always will!" It's a song waiting to invigorate adoration within both newbs to the tunes and bring back the diehards as well and prove that while they may have been miles apart, for years in some cases, they kept fans deep inside and always in their hearts.

YELLOWCARD continue the Ocean Avenue Acoustic anniversary celebration as they tour across the United States in its honor! For dates and ticket information visit! Gracias Amigos!

"I'm journalist Jaime' En Fuego and I approved this message!"