By Tania Zapien
The pop punk favorites kicked off The Mirror Tour at Paper Tiger in San Antonio, Texas on Monday, Oct. 21. The Phoenix, Arizona natives delivered a stellar performance full of self-reflection and a lot of love to a crowd of undeniably emo 20-somethings.
Per the band’s request on Instagram the day before, the crowd was dressed in gold in honor of the band’s latest album, You Are OK. With yellow flowers in hand (another fan base symbol) and dozens of black Make America Emo Again hats peeking through the crowd, The Maine took the stage with their iconic YAO opener “Slip the Noose.” Dressed to impress, the guys sported suits with golden accents to complement their loyal fans. As if the band hadn’t been touring continuously for the last 12 years, their energy and chemistry on-stage was overwhelming and contagious.
Personally, I’ve been a fan of The Maine for almost half of my life and have been lucky to see them perform on several occasions. However, something about that Monday night was special. From the moment you walked into the venue, it was obvious that The Maine had put a lot of thought into what they wanted this tour to mean. Every guest was greeted with a personal gold card that read the lyrics of one of their most profound songs to date, meant as a memo to be carried out of the venue and into the world with you.
Next to the merch table, groups of friends entered a tall tent meant to cast an endless tunnel reflection under your feet creating the perfect opportunity for the classic shoes-in-a-star-shape picture we all took in middle school.
As the band explained via social media in the months leading to The Mirror Tour, this tour was meant to make you reflect. For them, it was a time to reflect as a band and take a dive into the music they had created over the years. The setlist for this show could not have been more perfect, as they performed a plethora of all-time favorites, new classics, and a handful of never before played songs. Carefully curated, every song that night held a special meaning.
Ranging from the first song that put them on the map back in 2008, “I Must Be Dreaming,” to the secret anthem that is “F*cked Up Kids,” to a beautiful stripped down, acoustic version of the inspirational “(Un)Lost,” The Maine took their fans on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, highlighting the best of the best.
There’s a reason why The Maine is one of the only bands of the pop punk genre that has been able to continue touring and releasing music throughout the years, and that is their relationship with their fans. Not only do they constantly interact with them on social media and meet every fan after every single show they have played for the last 10 years for free, but they have devoted their entire careers to making sure that their fans are a part of the process and the outcome of their projects.
What started out as an address number in a song, has grown into a unique brand focused on support, positivity and humanity. 8123 may be the name of their fan club, but it has proven to be so much more. Most recently it inspired the creation of 8123 Fest, which takes place in the boys’ hometown of Phoenix, and 8123 Record Company, the studio and distribution center behind the band’s last three albums.
Whether you are a former emo kid or not, I highly recommend taking a listen to YAO and catching the guys live next time they’re in town. They love to tour and switch between Austin and San Antonio every tour so follow them on Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates and more photos from The Mirror Tour.
Featured image by Tania Zapien.