“It’s such a relief to be back in Phoenix,” Brian Fallon said to the crowd at The Marquee Theatre on Sunday night. “L.A. is so stressful, but then we come here and it’s like, aahhh.“
The sigh of relief is familiar to fans who have been secretly hoping Fallon and his bandmates would end their hiatus and return to music as The Gaslight Anthem. Earlier this year, that wish was granted, and the band is back on the road eight years after releasing their last album.
Tigers Jaw — the “best band ever,” if you ask the headliners — greeted the fans as they trickled into the venue, the line to get in wrapped around the block. The group has a solid fanbase in their own right after years of steady touring and new releases, and plenty of voices joined in for “Plane Vs. Tank Vs. Submarine” and “I Saw Water.” On stage, they’re a well-oiled machine that brings some extra punk flair to even their more polished songs, energy radiating from the stage.
By the end of “Anniversary,” the crowd was armed with their drinks and their perfect viewing spots. Nobody was about to miss the official return of The Gaslight Anthem. And when the group emerged and the first notes of “Get Hurt” reverberated, the building shook.
The laid back nature of Arizona gave Fallon an opportunity to interact with the crowd and mix up the setlist. From asking a fan about his glasses prescription to recommending up-and-coming bands, he had almost as much commentary as music during the set, but that’s what made it fun. The band doesn’t take themselves too seriously, and they’re loved for it. Another reward for not creating the stress of Los Angeles: the tour debut of “Stay Lucky” and “We’re Getting a Divorce, You Keep the Diner.” As the story goes, the fans in L.A. asked for those songs — “but I said no,” Fallon laughed.
The group closed out the night with their heavy hitters: “45” and “The ’59 Sound,” and everyone basked in the glow. Cheers to a comeback, and here’s to many more years.
Check out all the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Taylor Knauf