Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Evening with Andrew McMahon @ Sixth & I Synagogue, Washington, DC 10/18/09

First, let me start by saying that seeing a concert at the (historic!) Sixth & I Synagogue in DC may sound like a really strange thing, but it was actually kind of incredible. Of course, sitting in a pew in a house of worship lends itself to a great many jokes about religion. (I was raised Baptist and am not Agnostic, for the record, and this was my first time being in a synagogue - or anything but a Christian facility, actually.)

The Sixth & I Synagogue is beautiful. It is absolutely, positively gorgeous, and the sound, sitting and watching Andrew McMahon play with just the piano and Bobby Raw accompanying him on acoustic guitar (and occasionally mandolin) was an experience unlike any other. It was pure, auditory perfection. In the balcony, Lanie and I couldn't see that well (in fact, it took me several minutes to realize Bobby Raw was onstage at all), but it didn't matter. The sound was so perfect that I didn't need to be able to see anything.

I love Andrew McMahon. This is a thing I am completely unashamed of. He is one of my heroes in life. If you are not familiar with him, he is the frontman of the piano rock bands Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin, and had a bone marrow transplant in 2005 while battling leukemia. The current tour is in support of the documentary he made while going through treatment, Dear Jack, which I'm sure we'll review as soon as it comes in. (I've got it on preorder for the release date of November 3.) His music has helped me get through difficult times in my life, and his personal battle has made me aspire to be a better person.

That said, I went into this show with the knowledge that I would probably cry, and that I had put on my regular mascara instead of the waterproof stuff. And yes, I teared up, right from the very beginning as McMahon opened the set with "Hammers and Strings (A Lullaby)" from Jack's Mannequin's 2008 release The Glass Passenger.

I don't remember the precise order, but the songs played are vaguely as follows.

from Jack's Mannequin:
Hammers & Strings (A Lullaby)
Swim (Music Box version)
The Resolution
Holiday From Real
Dark Blue
La La Lie (West Coast Winter version)
There There, Katie
The Mixed Tape

from Something Corporate
Walking By
Punk Rock Princess
The Astronaut
As You Sleep
21 and Invincible

Friend of the Devil (Grateful Dead)
Moon River (Audrey Hepburn)
Dream (Everly Brothers)

Bobby Raw also played one song, which I don't remember the name of, other than McMahon sang harmony on it and it was very nice.

Yes, seeing him in a synagogue, watching him drink wine and tease Bobby Raw about drinking Mexican beer in a synagogue was strange, but the entire experience is one that I am extremely glad to have had. -Julieann

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