By Winfield Dean
On October 30, 2011 I made my way to Chicago, Illinois for The Plain White T’s ‘Wonders of the Younger Tour’ at the House of Blues. I arrived at the venue around 4:45 and waited in the rain with quite a few others for the doors to open. Even though the weather was dreary outside, everyone was still excited and hyped up for the show. The House of Blues in Chicago is an incredibly punctual venue. Doors opened right at 5 and I headed straight to the first balcony and got a table near the bar where I had a great view of the stage.
Alison Park took the stage at 5:30 dressed like Tom Cruise in Risky Business. She sang the majority of the songs on her EP ‘Listen’. Alison has an incredibly powerful voice, lots of energy on stage, and knows how to work a crowd. The Downtown Fiction was up next. Cameron Leahy was dressed as Kanye West, David Pavluk was Justin Bieber, and Wes Dimond was Taylor Swift. The Downtown Fiction sang hits like “I Just Wanna Run”, “Thanks for Nothing”, and “Let’s Be Animals”. Brian Dales from The Summer Set joined them on stage and sang while they were performing “A Wonderful Surprise”. Once their set was over the venue started to play “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO and the boys came back out on stage and danced obnoxiously.
The Summer Set was up at 7 pm. Brian Dales walked on stage along wearing a pea coat and boxers. He opened his coat to expose a white t-shirt with the word “SLUT” written on it. The rest of the band joined them dressed in the stereotypical slutty Halloween costumes. Jess Bowen looked like “the morning after”, Stephen Gomez was a mouse, John Gomez was a bunny, and John Montgomery was a nurse. The Summer Set had an incredibly upbeat, fun set. They started off with “When We Were Young”, “Chelsea”, “Mannequin”, and “The Boys You Do”. Alison Park came on stage and sang with Brian Dales during “About a Girl”. Next were “Back to the Start”, “Love Like This”, and “Someone Like You”. During their last song, “Young”, Alison Park and crew came out on stage and danced during the chorus. The crowd finished the last verse of the song. There was so much crowd interaction during their set, with the crowd singing and dancing along the entire time.
At 8:15 pm the Plain White T’s took the stage dressed like skeletons. Their set was decorated with spider webs, skulls, and headstones. The show began with “Irrational Anthem”, “Boomerang”, and “Our Time Now”. Tom Higgenson asked the crowd how many people had seen them a few months ago when they stopped in Chicago and the majority of the people attending screamed and raised their hands. They said that they were trying to mix up their set list as much as possible for those people who had just seen them. They continued on with “Make It Up As You Go”, “Cirque Dans La Rue”, and “1, 2, 3, 4”. The next song “The House on Shady Lane” is a Halloween song that they wrote and recorded and there is a free download on their website. Next was “Someday”, “Welcome to Mystery”, “You and Me”, and “Big Bad World”. Tom mentioned that they put a poll on Facebook before they started their tour, to allow fans to choose some of the songs that they put on their set list. He said that Chicago’s pick was disturbing, as the song the fans chose, “Penny (Perfect for You)”, was about stalking an ex-girlfriend. They ended the set with “Rhythm of Love” and “Last Breath”. The guys came back on stage for an encore and played “Killer”, “Body Parts”, “Hey There Delilah”, and “Hate (I Really Don’t Like You)”. They announced that they signed 50 copies of their new album and put them back at the merchandise table.
Overall, this was one of the most fun shows I have ever attended. It was especially exciting since it was the night before Halloween, so everyone was dressed up and just having a good time. Everyone’s set was super upbeat and you could tell that all of the musicians were just having fun on stage and wanting to celebrate the holiday with the crowd.