Review and photos by Meredith Szturm
Alright, so if you knew me in tenth and eleventh grade, then you would’ve probably heard Almost Here played in the car about a million times and when I heard that The Academy Is… were doing a ten year anniversary tour in celebration of the album (and playing it IN FULL) I knew I had to go. And if you only read this first paragraph and don’t continue on in the review, you need to know that it lived up to my expectations and so much more. It was so good that I got in trouble with security for staying in front of the barrier for too long.
I had seen TAI three times before this show, but it had been at least five years since the last one. When I got there, they were playing The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Fall Out Boy, and tons of other high school favorites while we all waited. I was getting really nostalgic and really excited. PARTYBABY, a band from California that only has a handful of songs up for listening so far, opened. They were amazing. I had never heard them before that night, but that didn’t stop me from singing and dancing along. They were having so much fun onstage and you could tell that they were there because they love and believe in the music they’re playing. Frontman Jamie Schefman told stories about how music has affected all of their lives for the better and that’s what he wants to do for other people. They ended their set loudly, and as the music swelled, Jamie carried a PARTYBABY flag off the stage and through the middle of the crowd all the way to the back of the venue.
After that, everyone was really pumped up for The Academy Is… The lights were a dim blue and the band began to play just before they all walked out onstage to cheers from the audience. They were playing the record in order so “Attention” was the opening song and it was perfect. Almost every single person in the venue was singing along after just a few words and I couldn’t help the huge smile I had as I took pictures and tried to sing every word at the same time. William Beckett is so great with the crowd and the perfect charismatic showman that a great frontman often is.
Honestly I hadn’t listened to Almost Here in years, so I didn’t expect to know every single word of every single song, but guess what? I did. I screamed along with the rest of the crowd in “Slow Down” when William held the mic up for us to chant “Alright, alright, slow down!” My heart swelled because I remembered doing that exact same thing at the exact same venue when I was only sixteen.
“Classifieds” was another one of my favorites, and William pranced around the stage and swung the microphone every chance he got. The show closed with “Almost Here,” and then the band was back for an encore. “About A Girl” was the most memorable song of the encore, with gorgeous vocals, dancy music, and angsty lyrics that made for the perfect end to one of the best nights I’ve had in a while.
The Academy Is… is still just as great as they ever were, and if they want to do reunion tours for the next ten years, count me in at all of them.