A packed week at The Pavilion proves (all over again) that this place can rock – in every sense of the word.
Friday: Incubus, Jimmy Eat World and Judah & The Lion
The night that just kept building started with a band you may or may not know, but definitely should. Judah and the Lion is a Tenessee-native, genre-less jam band that surprises with every song. Their biggest hit right now, “Take It All Back” is played on the radio every few minutes – maybe you heard it on the way to work this morning.
The crowd at The Pavilion watched as the band played an energetic, banjo and beats filled set featuring their hit song, along with a few surprise covers of crowd favorites like The Killer’s “Mr. Brightside.”
A few minutes later, the audience collectively leaned in as Jimmy Eat World took the stage. The band has been around a while and clearly knows their way around a stage, but was just as full of energy and rock ‘n’ roll as ever.
They kicked off their set with a few songs from their more recent albums, displaying their new tracks proudly to a filling lawn. We were impressed with how many people had already filed into The Pavilion by the time Jimmy Eat World started jamming – the crowd was ready for a night of rock and they didn’t want to miss a thing.
The Pavilion and Live Nation also had the opportunity to give away two ticket upgrades to some very excited Jimmy Eat World fans. At the beginning of the band’s set, we found them in matching Jimmy Eat World shirts bumping up and down to the first song. We handed them a few tickets and they got to move much, much closer to the stage. You could say they were pretty excited.
Jimmy Eat World wrapped up their set with a few of their biggest songs, including “The Middle” – and the energy in the crowd built even further.
There’s a moment, just before a long-awaited show begins. It’s a silent (or close to it) moment that’s been circled on the calendar of every fan for weeks or months. When the lights finally drop out, a hush falls over the crowd. Almost immediately after, the crowd erupts into celebration. There’s a moment of quiet just before that, though, where time stops and everyone thinks, “I can’t believe I actually get to be here” It’s one of our favorite moments to witness. That silent moment just before Incubus was brilliant. We hope you were there to be a part of it.
The mounting energy of the night burst as Incubus took the stage. Playing an outstanding collection of their hits and new work, Incubus was full of charisma and angst. They seemed so confident in their music – with good reason. The audience followed along with every note. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a crowd so into every moment of a show.
Watching from towards the front of the venue, we had the chance to see people from all walks of life come together to do one thing really well: jam with Incubus. They were just having so much fun.
Incubus played a long and full set before finally saying good night to their wildly appreciative fans. We were pretty thankful to be there to see it.
Sunday: John Mayer
After a dynamic and creative set from The Night Game, an up-and-coming Indie Rock band, the Sunday crowd laid back on the lawn and just enjoyed being together. We think concerts are best with friends and it seemed like everyone at the show on Sunday agreed.
Soon enough, John Mayer and his (outrageously talented) band took the stage to deafening applause. He organized his show into a few chapters – each with a distinct style and feel and each with their own set of surprises – and then let the crowd know that they were all part of the same “fog of funk.”
It became immediately apparent that Mayer is at his most comfortable on stage. He talked to the crowd like they were his best friends and he played his guitar without a single care in the world. His guitar solos were insane. We can’t get over his mastery of the instrument; The Pavilion crowd couldn’t either.
After the first chapter featured his full band, Mayer brought the volume (but not the energy or impressiveness) down for an acoustic set. He covered Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” and hilariously introduced “Your Body is a Wonderland” by letting the audience know that he’s still not sure what he was thinking when he wrote it. The crowd swayed and sang with every song.
Chapter Three featured the John Mayer Trio, a rocking ensemble with Mayer at the head. They rocked and rolled through a few songs before the full band returned to the stage.
The whole night, we couldn’t help but feel that Mayer was just happy everyone was there together and enjoying the show. He thanked the audience numerous times, telling them that if he could stay for hours on end and play every song they’d ever wished for, he would.
Mayer played some of his newer material and became hilariously self-referential – acknowledging that he has a “weird catalogue” of songs and telling the crowd, “if you need to go the bathroom, this would be a good song.” We didn’t see many people leave thier seats. It didn’t matter what Mayer was playing. We didn’t want to miss a thing.
Mayer and his band finally brought the night to an end with two of his biggest hits: “Waiting on the World to Change” and “Gravity.” The guitar solos flew freely during that last chapter and the audience’s cheers were loud and excited. It was a special night at The Pavilion – one we’ve relived over and over in our heads since.
Wednesday: Straight No Chaser and Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox
Jon McLaughlin opened the night simply – just his silky voice, a piano and a pretty iconic pair of sunglasses. Often, the first opener at a big Pavilion show is hiding an incredible amount of talent. Such was the case with McLaughlin. His opening act also revealed something about Wednesday night’s crowd: they were there to do more than just watch the show – they wanted to be a part of it. They gleefully chanted back McLaughlin’s lyrics and the night got on its way in a hurry.
Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox took the stage with unmatched flamboyance and showmanship, setting the tone for a wild set that would prove full of surprises. The Postmodern Jukebox thrives on vintage appeal – they throwback modern hits to the Jazz Age, adding flair and panache wherever possible.
After covering Taylor Swift, Sia and a bevy of other crowd-pleasers, the audience was treated to an impressive tap-dancing routine by one of the Jukebox’s many talented performers. The performers rotated around the stage all night, each featuring a distinct set of vocal, instrumental or dance skills. Some had all three. The constantly changing line-up had the crowd guessing – and hoping – for what might come next.
Simply put – this show was teeming with fun. The artists’ talents were impressive musically, yes, but their true talent lay in putting on a phenomenal show. Their hilarious showmanship (and showwomanship) had us laughing the whole night. Life pumped through the veins of the Postmodern Jukebox on Wednesday night.
Straight No Chaser followed and upped the ante with their old-school acapella jams. SNC gained popularity when their rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” went viral. It was more than just their incredible voices, all singing in perfect harmony, that sent the original video towards internet fame. They were bringing something new, something outlandish to the acapella game. The Pavilion crowd loved it.
They sang acapella classics, put new spins on old favorites, presented a few impressive originals and, of course, belted Bruno Mars’ newest hit, “That’s What I Like.” Their style is unmatched in the acapella world – and they were just a blast to watch.
Check Out What’s Next at The Pavilion:
8/18 – Deep Purple and Alice Cooper – Get Tickets
8/19 – Foreigner and Cheap Trick – Get Tickets
8/27 – Lady Antebellum – Get Tickets
We’ll see you at the show!