Reviewer: Winfield Dean
On October 15, 2011, my roommate and I drove to Evansville, IN from Purdue University to see The Summer Set’s headlining show at Boney June’s. The drive was about 4 hours, so we got an early start and hit the road. Apparently we planned ahead a little too far in advance. It had completely slipped our minds that Evansville would be in central time, rather than eastern. We ended up arriving at the venue at 2 pm. Yes, we were the first ones there and doors weren’t supposed to open until 6:30. So instead of waiting by the door of the venue, we went and ate at a restaurant across the street to kill 3 or 4 hours. We headed back over to Boney June’s once we saw band-like vehicles with trailers arriving.
As promised, doors opened around 6:30. There were about 30 people that had been waiting in line for a little over an hour. More people began to arrive during the opening bands, which were Paul Osburn, Bella Vue, Stereo Shout Out, and Alison Park, who is also Plain White T’s Wonders of the Younger tour with The Summer Set. Paul Osburn is a musician from Evansville, IN who sings acoustic-pop songs. Bella Vue, a rock band from Evansville, was up next. They had very high energy and really excited the crowd for The Summer Set. The local band to perform was Stereo Shout Out. They have a pop rock sound and have both a male and female singer, which adds an interesting dynamic to their songs. Alison Park, the last opener for The Summer Set, performed with The Holding, a pop rock band. Alison has an incredibly powerful voice; I highly recommend listening to her if you don’t already.
Now I already knew, because of Twitter, that The Summer Set would be playing acoustic, which I was actually very excited about. When Brian Dales and Stephen Gomez got on stage they told the story of how their van broke down somewhere in Missouri, which Brian would now always pronounce “misery”. Alison Park and her crew had to turn their bus around to go pick them up. Their van wouldn’t be fixed until the following Monday, so their next few shows would have to be acoustic instead of full-band. Brian and Stephen started the night off with “When We Were Young”. Brian’s voice sounded great accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. This was followed with the fan favorite “Chelsea” from “Love Like This” which Brian ended with the lyrics of “Stacy’s Mom”, by Fountains of Wayne and then transitioned into “About a Girl”.
Brian proceeded to tell us that the next song “Punch Drunk Love” was actually about the Adam Sandler movie “Punch-Drunk Love” from 2002. After “Punch Drunk”, they covered “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits, one of their favorite 80’s songs. Slowing things down, they played “Where Are You Now?” a song that was recorded as a duet with Dia Frampton. Stephen sang Dia’s part of the song; I was incredibly impressed. For the next song, Brian really got the crowd participating. He got the crowd to sing the “Oh-Oh’s” in the background of “Back to the Start” for the entire song. I loved hearing “Back to the Start” acoustically, it’s my favorite song on the album and it was nice to hear in a different sound.
“Someone Like You” was the first single off of “Everything’s Fine” so when they started to play this song everyone sang the lyrics, danced around, and had fun. “Young” was supposed to be the final song of the evening. Brian and Stephen left the stage when it was over and the crowd chanted for one more song. Being the gentlemen that they are, they came back out and did a cover of “Freefallin’” by Tom Petty and “The Boys You Do”, both which had a lot of crowd participation.
Honestly, this was my favorite concert by The Summer Set. I had seen them perform twice before as a full band on the Dirty Work Tour with All Time Low and on the Friday is Forever Tour with We The Kings. Of course I loved seeing the full band live, but I really enjoyed being able to hear a full set sung acoustically. I got to see a different side of The Summer Set; it was an incredible show.