House music goes down and the crowd cheers as Florida natives Yellowcard take The Observatory stage in Santa Ana, CA to perform Ocean Avenue in it’s entirety. Front-man Ryan Key greets the crowd with a “We are Yellowcard, welcome to the show” and then he throws in a little Phantom Planet reference singing “Califforrrniiiaaa, Californiaaaaaa, here we come.” He addresses the importance of the night and tells the audience that he has three requests “1. Have the best night ever 2. Lose your voice 3. I’m not judging but it’s best to put your electronic devices away. It’s better to watch with your eyeballs instead of your phone.” The crowd kept to Key’s request until the third song/title track “Ocean Avenue” was performed and everyone busted out their phones to capture this iconic moment.
In between “Ocean Avenue” and “Empty Apartment” violinist Sean Mackin addresses the crowd with a “Thanks for celebrating the 10 ½ year of Ocean Avenue. I’m already having an amazing time. If you see me smiling like an idiot it’s all your fault.” Key chimes in and explains that ‘Empty Apartment is made for losing your voice.” What I loved most about the acoustic version of ‘Empty Apartment’ is that it was a very stripped down version of only guitar & violin on stage.
Yellowcard have been touring for over a decade and are no strangers to the California crowds. Key explains “when you know you’re coming to Orange County to play a show, it’s going to rip” “Somewhere there is a polaroid picture of us in front of the Chain Reaction sign of our first sold out show” The camaraderie between the musicians shines through during “Only One” right after Mackin and guitarist Ryan Mendez shred during the bridge, Mackin walks over to Mendez and high fives him on how great of a job they just did.
A few songs post “Only One,” Mackin mentions that a dude told them on Twitter that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend during the love ballad. He asks if it happened and if she said yes. The couple raises their hands and celebrates. Mackin thanked them for sharing that moment with them.
Right after “One Year, Six Months Ago” Mackin exclaims that he saw someone take a selfie during that last song. Key chimes in with “I prefer the term self portrait” which then escalates into a banter about the term selfie, when Mendez chimes in about how it’s in the dictionary along with the term ‘Twerk.” Mendez challenges Mackin to twerk and Key cuts it off before things get weird and says “you’ve stuck by our band for a long time and no ones freaking twerking up here” then they head into final song off Ocean Avenue “Back Home.”
The band takes a quick 15 minute break, changes from their dress shirts to rock & roll t-shirts and take the stage to perform 10 more songs from their repertoire via electric instruments. Half way through the rock heavy set Key addresses the crowd with “I’ll take this time to thank you all for coming out, we thought we’d also play our new stuff for those who haven’t listened to us since Ocean Avenue. Thank you for singing along. I think we’re about to go into the studio and make a new record.” I was very pleased to hear that the band plans on making a new record. Even though Yellowcard took a mini hiatus for a few years, I’m so happy they’ve been back rocking at venues and creating new music.
Review by Kate Cordova