After playing a sold out show the previous night, Anberlin came back to play another night at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia. The first Philadelphia show was the first show on their most recent tour to sell out, so it was no surprise that they added a second show and had a pretty packed room to play to. After their farewell tour back in 2014, which I missed, I had no idea if I would ever get the chance to see one of my favorite bands live. Hearing that they would be back for this tour made me more excited than you could imagine, and I immediately knew I had to attend. With I The Mighty as support, this tour was too good to pass up.
I The Mighty opened the night with an energy that could knock you off your feet. By this point I had been to three other shows on this tour so I knew to expect a sweaty room by the end of their set. As always I was very impressed to see the way ITM took command of the stage, playing through songs such as “The Lying Eyes of Miss Erray”, “Degenerates”, and “Silver Tongues”. Bass player, Chris Hinkley, is hard to take your eyes off of as he runs across the stage and moves around so much, in the most entertaining way possible. I was disappointed by the lack of excitement from the audience this night, but regardless I The Mighty smashed their set and I give them props for staying so energetic the entire set.
When the lights went down and “(Debut)” started to play over the speakers, the whole room was in a state of excitement. Anberlin walked out on stage and transitioned into “Godspeed” just as they do on their album “Cities”. Hearing and seeing the entire room explode into song and dance was beautiful and such an emotional moment. As a treat for the audience, Anberlin switched out a couple of songs from the previous night’s setlist and played “Time & Confusion” and “Audrey, Start the Revolution!”. Anberlin sounds just as good, if not better, than their recordings, leading me to believe that not much has changed in the past 5 years. Watching the entire band put so much effort into their performance on stage was incredible. The amount of energy and movement from each member was mesmerizing.
During the acoustic section of the set, front man Stephen Christian took the time to discuss Children International, a charity the band is working with which allows you to sponsor a child so that they can be provided an education, food, and other needs. Seeing how passionate his speech was really helped to show that the band truly wanted to make a difference in this world with whatever platform they have. During “The Unwinding Cable Car”, I The Mighty’s frontman Brent Walsh joined the band on stage to help sing the melody at the end while Stephen held out a note for a very impressive 45 seconds (I HAD to time it at this show because it absolutely blew my mind at the previous shows how long it was). You could tell by the end that Stephen’s voice was starting to be strained, but he continued on with the same amount of power and passion regardless, and pushed through to the end. A couple of brave souls crowd surfed during “Feel Good Drag”, which really had the audience pumped up. Finally, when the band came back out to encore “(*Fin)”, I’ll have to admit I got quite emotional remembering the night and seeing the crowd stand with their fingers crossed up in the air (a signature symbol for the band). It was mentioned during the performance that the band has gotten to see the way their fans have grown - hearing stories about fans getting married and having kids. The band has not mentioned any future plans, but one can only hope after seeing a performance like this that they will have something going on again soon. It is clear that Anberlin has had a profound impact on their fan base and I would hope that if they came back around again, that everyone would take the chance to check them out!
For more information on Children International please visit this link: https://www.children.org/
Nicole DiBenedetto is a photographer based out of New Jersey. She likes making new friends and meeting new people so catch her out in the pit and say hi!