15 Years Later And A Day To Remember Is Still Going Strong REVIEW+PHOTOS: A DAY TO REMEMBER @ PETERSON EVENTS CENTER 3/17/18
PITTSBURGH, PA- With only a handful of shows left on their “15 Years in the Making” tour across North America, I was fortunate enough to cover pop-punk/metalcore legends, A Day To Remember, in Pittsburgh. Having consistently packed stadiums along the West and East coasts on their latest tour, I was not the least bit surprised to see the ground floor and seats flooded with people. The anticipation to not only photograph but witness the pandemonium and energy that runs rampant throughout an ADTR performance was truly exciting.
After opening sets by The Devil Wears Prada, Falling in Reverse and Papa Roach, the venue lights dimmed and A Day to Remember took the stage. They came out slowly, one by one, with front man Jeremy McKinnon the last to make his way onto the platform. All five gentlemen stood stationary, silhouetted by the light that illuminated them from behind. The prolonged cheers throughout the stadium and the screaming people at the very front was deafening, until the huge sound of the band kicked in.
ADTR opened with “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” which is an absolute banger of their critically acclaimed ’09 album, Homesick. Adding to the killer atmosphere even further, the guys brought out The Devil Wears Prada’s, Mike Hranica, to belt out some screams during their second song “You Already Know What You Are”. Taking some time in between their second and third song, ADTR’s Jeremy McKinnon, expressed his gratitude to the stadium of over 10,000 for coming out on St. Patrick’s Day to come see them perform and that they were going to give the fans a show they would soon not forget. McKinnon and company made good on their promise.
After finishing his speech to the crowd, three giant projection screens were lowered down from above the stage and displayed the words “FIGHT ON!”, as “2nd Sucks” hammered throughout the venue. With confetti and smoke launching everywhere as McKinnon and the rest of the guys jammed hard, I had to constantly dodge the barrage of flying feet from all the people crowd surfing and being pulled over the pit. Although I sustained numerous kicks to the head, the adrenaline pumping through my veins because of their music made me impervious to any pain. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and was totally worth it.
The way that ADTR blends both hardcore and pop-punk together in a way that does not sound generic and saturated, like most bands in their genre, really solidifies how they have been able to stay relevant after all these years. Although their set was filled of some of my favorite ADTR cuts, the most memorable moment came from the most unlikely source material: their cover of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone”. I never knew a band could take a song I’m not particularly fond of and manage to spin it in a way that made it sound so badass, but A Day to Remember managed to do just that. Also, the addition of giant beach balls being thrown into the crowd along with the constant stream of confetti definitely enhanced the audience experience. Playing mostly deep cuts from albums ranging from their entire discography, you could tell the stadium was packed to the brim with loyal fans as you could here them all singing practically every word. McKinnon, impressed with the crowd engagement, even professed his love for the crowd.
For their encore, they closed out the night with two of their more popular hits, “If It Means a Lot to You” and “The Downfall of Us All”, the ground floor became overrun with fans from the grandstands who overpowered security. I had to exercise plenty of self-control to not join the anarchy that was unfolding down below, considering I had my equipment with me, but trust me when I say that the temptation was real. But it was their acoustic renditions of “I Remember” that was particularly moving, a performance that “was arranged and performed because of the many repeat sold out shows in Pittsburgh and in honor of A Day To Remember’s largest ever headlining show in the United States on this night” (see the found video clip below).
When the mayhem had ceased and the show was over, I felt like I had the ability to do it all over again (and then some). A Day to Remember’s sound has a way of amping up even the most mellow of concert-goers. The fact that they are still able to churn out album after album and improve upon each one in their own way is nothing short of extraordinary. Most bands hit their stride and then plateau until they eventually become a shell of their former selves, but ADTR is an entirely different story. Much like a fine wine, they just seem to keep getting better and better with age.