Live Report: Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness @ City National Grove of Anaheim

Artists: Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness

Venue: City National Grove of Anaheim

Date: July 11th, 2020

I didn’t think I’d be writing another Live Report article in 2020, because things have been looking a bit glum for the live music industry, due to Covid-19 and government restrictions on live gatherings. However, there are some venues and artists that are finding a way to still provide live music for their fans, working within proper guidelines for safety and social distancing. One of those venues is City National Grove of Anaheim, which has scheduled a few drive-in concerts for fans to enjoy. One of the artists that took them up on this new concert going experience was Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness.

To experience this live show fans had a couple of options. One option was to buy a ticket that allowed one car entry into the concert. The cars were arranged in a way that gave concert goers their own social distancing space, and allowed for them to watch from their parking spots, in or outside of their cars. However, this created limited capacity at the live show. Thankfully, the second option was offered. This option was to buy a digital ticket and enjoy a live stream of the concert, provided by On Location Live. I opted for the digital streaming show, as I wasn’t sure how easy the situation of a drive-in concert would be for me, personally.

I am very pleased with my decision to attend this concert virtually. It was very easy to purchase a ticket, and very easy to access the concert as well. I used an HDMI cable to connect my laptop to my smart TV, which allowed me to watch and listen to the concert on a much bigger screen.

Andrew McMahon put on a great show. It was as if he were performing to a large arena of fans, and he wasn’t sidelined by the quiet applause and cheering from a much smaller audience than usual. I know that performers feed heavily off of the energy they receive from their audience, so I assume that being so secluded and far from the fans had to have been a bit of a challenge.

However, he provided as much energy as usual and thanked the fans for coming and allowing him to perform. I know that for many artists their art is like breathing, and being forced to go this long without an important piece of your artistic side has got to be a challenge for musicians. I could feel the love and appreciation coming from McMahon as he talked to the audience between songs.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen McMahon perform. I had the pleasure of attending his shows at both the Ford Theatre and the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles a couple of years ago, and I got to briefly meet him at the Kaaboo festival in 2019.

He is an amazing live performer and gives the audience so much music to enjoy. He’s not quick to exit the stage, usually offering an encore of 4-8 songs or so – and that’s after a nice, long first set. I was supposed to see him play with AWOLNATION at the Greek this year, so I’m grateful that this digital show was offered and that I still got to experience his live energy despite the cancellation of the majority of live shows in 2020.

The entire first part of the show was a start to finish play through of his Jack’s Mannequin album, Everything In Transit, including some of my favorites such as, “Holiday From Reel,” and “Dark Blue.” When he came back on after a brief break, which was filled with the sounds of cheering and honking horns, he back dove in with a variety of music including, “I Woke Up In A Car” (which he deemed appropriate for a drive-in show) – a song that was released by Something Corporate, his first band. He also treated us to a song he originally did with Lindsey Stirling, “Something Wild.” He said it was only the second time he’s ever played it live due to not usually having a stellar violin player on hand. Thankfully he did have one for this show, compliments of an accomplished musician named Morgan Paros (who went back and forth from violin, to keyboards, to guitar, to vocals… multi-talented!). Of course, top favorites from Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness were played as well, including “Cecilia And The Satellite,” “Love And Great Buildings,” and “Fire Escape” – plus the debut of a new song called “Get On My Wave.”

It sucks that live music is a rarity in 2020, but I’m glad that there are still ways to enjoy live performances from favorite artists. There are many artists offering up streaming concerts (I previously watched one from Sonata Arctica, and I have tickets for one by Judah & The Lion), and many more doing donation based live streams from their Facebook pages and Instagram Live feeds. If there are musicians that you love, I beg of you now more than ever to give them a follow and buy tickets to their digital shows, or donate to them when they do a more informal live performance for donations. Everyone is struggling right now, but music and art is one way to get through it all, and I’m grateful that musicians and artists are still finding ways to help us get through this by sharing their talents for us to enjoy.

Check out Everything In Transit in full below on Spotify:

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