Andrew McMahon Concert Photographs Japan & House of Blues Boston
There are few people in this world that I admire more than Andrew McMahon. I’ve had what seems to be a lifelong crush on Brandon Flowers (who doesn’t??), but that’s different. I genuinely just admire the heck out of this man as a person and an artist. He’s one of those people you can’t help but look up to even if they are your age. If you look at what he does and listen to his music, you’ll get a sense of the kind of person he is, not to mention the absolute brilliance and poetry of his music.
After living everywhere and traveling around the world, LA of all cities is my favorite place on Earth. Home is an interseting concept when you travel so much and move around so much, but I’ve always felt the most myself and most at home there on the beach of Santa Monica or walking the Pier or boardwalk. And when I listen to his music, I can feel this place so brilliantly.
I remember the first time I saw Jack’s Mannequin in concert. I was 22 years old and completing a May term at the University of Redlands. May term is essentially a single class you need to take during the month of May which means the rest of that time is spent laying by the pool or driving to the desert. I miss May term and I miss being 21. Ten years goes by fast.
The U of R is a Southern California paradise located between the desert of Palm Springs and LA. It’s a great school but not as well known, but I like it that way because the experience is somehow more special that way. Few college campuses compete with its setting, surrounded by the mountains and lined with palm trees. If you’ve ever seen the movie Slackers, that’s my school.
Something Corporate at the time was a hit and a favorite of mine, but Jack’s Mannequin was his latest experiment. Jack’s played for a small crowd of us under the brilliant California sun, surrounded by idyllic palm trees. And when I saw him years later in Japan, I told him I saw him play at Redlands. He said, “wow! I must have been like a hundred pounds.” It was around this time he had been recovering from Leukemia, but of course, he later went on to create even more influential music and set up the Dear Jack Foundation.
Watching your favorite band play is always profoundly better if the setting matches the music. I’d say this was only matched when I saw Weezer play at the Del Mar fairgrounds in San Diego, far out in the fields after opening day at the races. They put on a free concert and we managed to snag a spot a mere ten feet from the stage, surrounded again by the brilliant San Diego sun.
The next time I saw Jack’s play was I think in 2012. The band was in Japan on tour and they played a concert for the military at the Yokosuka Base. It turned out that most military members were not familiar with the band at all, yet his concert in Tokyo was sold out. I swear only a crowd of like not even 30 people showed up. It was absolutely brilliant because I literally hung over the stage, a mere three feet away from Andrew at his piano. At the time, I was just learning about photography. But photographing Andrew playing the piano is like capturing the most beautiful sunset in Tahiti; you can’t really take a bad photograph but yet, you feel compelled to capture it. That concert again was epic for obvious reasons, but afterward, the band went bar hopping with everyone at the Honch, see (21 Things Sailors Who’ve Served in Yokosuka Will Understand). Truly a brilliant night.
His concert for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness recently at the House of Blues in Boston managed to still top everything else. A massive crowd showed up but I bought floor tickets which turned out to be the best idea. He, of course, played several Jack’s songs and I Woke Up in a Car from Something Corporate. That totally made my night.
I was surprised when I looked up during one of his last songs to find a slideshow of images all taken from my old home around the Minatomirai District in Yokohama, Japan. It’s one of the most peaceful yet unfamiliar places I’ve ever been to and most tourists who travel to Japan skip over it. This was my home for the last four years.