Earlier this year Journey’s announced that they would be doing something special. Something free. Something for the fans. They called it Journey’s Backyard BBQ. It would stop in a few cities and each city would have a different band headlining. On Saturday June 9, the Backyard BBQ tour stopped at King of Prussia Mall outside of Philly, and hometown boys Circa Survive would be headlining. I was stoked.
My friend and I headed to Philly on an absolutely gorgeous Saturday. We found a little festival going on when we got there. Things you would expect: merch booths. Food. Kids everywhere. Typical concert things. But it also had a few things I didn’t expect. Mainly, a huge half pipe with kids skateboarding, and the high flying stunts of Metal Mullisha. For those of you that don’t know, Metal Mullisha is a group of free style motocross riders who literally fly through the air.
Besides the skateboarding and motorcycles a few other things struck me. For one thing, water was only $2. Pizza was $1. For anyone who goes to concerts, that alone is noteworthy. Usually any thing that might have a few people attending tend to keep things a little on the more expensive side. Even the merch booths were getting into the spirit. The Circa Survive booth literally had tons of t shirts for $5 and hoodies for $10. Journey’s set this tour up for the fans, and it felt like everyone else there were for the fans too.
They had a couple bands opening up to get the crowds moving.Local band Amyst and Marianas Trench from Canada. Both bands were a hit with the mostly younger audience. Anthony Green of Circa could be seen on the stage during their sets, hanging out and watching them along with everyone else. Because this show was literally in the middle of the mall parking lot, I think fans got a little bit more access than they normally would. The bands weren’t backstage the whole time. The backstage was an open lot where they could easily be seen. Earlier in the day Circa Survive and the other bands were hanging out, signing posters and meeting fans. In between sets the attention was turned to the Metal Mullisha guys, and they kept the energy going.
At 6pm Circa Survive took the stage. Anthony Green has always been one of the most charismatic and energetic front men I have ever seen play, and when he stepped out every single person lost their mind. Dressed simply in a white t shirt and brown pants, his broad smile was met with hundreds more. The band ripped into Through The Desert Alone, and outstanding track from their last release, Blue Sky Noise. I said this I think last time I reviewed a Circa Survive show, but seeing them live truly is an incredible thing. Anthony Green is the clear leader, and his solo career and fan base is extensive, but Circa Survive is clearly more than just Green. Colin Frangicetto, Brendan Ekstrom, Nick beard and Steve Clifford are all incredible musicians. They keep Circa Survive moving forward and sounding amazing.
Glass Arrows was next then an older, and obvious crowd favorite, In Fear And Faith. Green has always been great to his fans and he spent part of his time on stage grabbing hands and encouraging everyone to come to the front of the crowd. Another favorite, The Difference Between Medicine and The Dose was next followed by a new, stellar song, The Birth Of The Economic Hitmen. The new song has been played a bit on their last tour and it was received like one of the favorites. It made me, and everyone else I think, excited for the new album that they are working on.
The band ripped into a bunch more older tracks while the sun lowered in the sky. The Great Golden Baby, Living Together, Holding Someone’s Hair Back, and my personal favorite, Get Out. They left the stage with everyone still going crazy. I was backstage at the time and their manager said that would be it, no encore. But after a few minutes of the crowd screaming, they came back out to do one more. Before they played their final song Green talked to the audience for a bit. He thanked everyone for coming. Told us the new album would be out soon. And then he said the next song was the first song the band ever wrote together. Act Appalled was that song, and it sounded so fucking good.
The band left the stage for a final time and spent a little time backstage. Anthony went over to his son, James, and his parents and wife who were at the show. Other family members were there and the band milled around with them. They also broke off from time to time to sign autographs, but there was a real family vibe to the after show. I felt fortunate that I got to be a part of it.
The whole day was a success. From what I could see, there was no fights, no police or security needing to break anything up. Kids had a really good time. From the promoters giving away free stuff in between bands, to the local kids getting to test their skills on the half pipe. I think it was a good example of what kind of day everyone can have when the love of music drives things more than the love of money. It was a beautiful summer day, and I think that everyone there felt like it was of the clear highlights of the summer. Journey’s put on a great show, a thank you needs to go out to them for that. And of course, a big thank you to Circa Survive as well. They played a killer set and I cannot wait for them to finish the new record and tour.