By Bella Peterson
I have had the pleasure of seeing Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’s live shows very frequently over the past few years, in so many different cities that it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. It was a very different and memorable experience, however, I got to see Andrew and his band mate Zac Clark play a stripped down set in Leawood, Kansas for X1051’s Music Alley. The show took place at the Town Center Plaza, which I at first thought was an odd location due to it quite literally being a strip mall alleyway. However, it ended up being an absolutely beautiful place to watch the show as the sun set behind the stage.
Andrew started the show with the fan-favorite lead single “Fire Escape”, an anthemic pop song from his most recent album Zombies on Broadway, which he turned into an acoustic ballad. He filled the set with funny and heartwarming stories, which are always some of my favorite parts of his shows. Throughout the rest of the night, he played a good mix of acoustic versions of Wilderness songs as well as some popular songs from his former projects Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin, satisfying new and old fans alike. He also threw in the crowd request “Walking By,” a highlight of the night for me.
As always, Andrew made a point to draw attention to his Dear Jack Foundation, a non-profit foundation he began after battling cancer in 2005. The foundation provides resources to adolescents and young adults from their diagnosis through survivor-ship. A few days before the show, the foundation had surpassed their yearly goal of $100,000 by 11/11, and he urged the crowd to continue to donate and keep up the momentum.
As many times as I’ve seen Andrew, I think this show was one of my favorites. He didn’t have his usual stage gimmicks and there was no huge production involved, but that didn’t make it any less exciting and interesting. His shows always feel so personal and intimate, and this was absolutely no exception to that.