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Show Review: The Maine takes over Phoenix for two special sold out nights at The Van Buren

The Arizona desert came alive as hundreds of fans journeyed into downtown Phoenix for two very special nights with native sons The Maine last weekend. The cult leaders of 8123 and their loyal followers were thrilled to spend this time with a band that hasn’t graced a hometown stage in a year- and The Maine pulled out every stop imaginable for an unforgettable weekend.

Night two featured an all-local lineup and the night started strong with Diva Bleach and Breakup Shoes. Both acts had the chance to shine a spotlight on the impressive talent coming out of Phoenix in a post-pandemic scene and they won the hearts of everyone who came in from out of town.

Plenty of attendees had attended night one and were more than ready to keep the party going on Saturday night. Despite playing a high-energy set the evening before, The Maine took the stage looking refreshed and eager to pour their hearts into the set. The band’s 2023 tour took fans back through their entire discography- including deep cuts and a fan’s choice moment halfway through the show. However, their latest self-titled album had the spotlight as the set began with “dose no. 2” before throwing it all the way to “I Must Be Dreaming”.

The band kept to their designated emo disco color scheme, encouraging fans to follow along with black, silver and more than a few cowboy hats. In a 25-song setlist, there was something for everyone- whether they’ve been fans since day one or only started yesterday. As always, the community that drives 8123 and The Maine forward is the backbone of every one of these Arizona shows. The fans drive the movement and singer John O’Callaghan’s huge grin throughout the set was the only proof anyone could need of the band’s deep love for their people.

As promised, the crowd had one chance to choose a track and “Bad Behavior” won over “Slip the Noose” by an overwhelming majority of cheers. The evening’s surprise guest was former A Rocket to the Moon singer Nick Santino during “thoughts I have while lying in bed”. O’Callaghan demanded the most from his captive audience, jumping into the fray for an electronic-tinged reworking of “Sticky” before guitarist Kennedy Brock took over vocal duty on the airy “Lost in Nostalgia”.  

Even though the show felt like the musical equivalent of running a marathon, the last few songs still felt like a surprise since no one wanted the night to end. The band closed things out with a room-shaking “Dirty, Pretty, Beautiful” before the natural, perpetual final song “Another Night on Mars”. Friends swayed and held each other for this classic finale track and the spirit and connection of the 8123 family carried everyone into the chilly evening with the promise of The Maine’s festival weekend in 2025.

Check out all the photos!

Story and photos by Olivia Khiel

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