Just a few short months ago The All-American Rejects came through Pennsylvania on a short weekend tour that saw them stop at Delaware Valley College for a packed performance in front of a mixed crowd of college kids all the way to longtime dedicated fans. This time they were playing on the main stage of the annual Musikfest in Bethlehem, and were the first national act to do so this year due to ZZ Top pulling off the first day of the festival. The show began early with doors opening right around 6PM and the opening act taking the stage shortly after which meant that The All-American Rejects were set to take the stage just past 8:30PM. By this time the crowd had filled in to well over 2,500 people, which left just the far back grandstand empty and the majority of the seats filled for the entire evening. Being that the band just performed in the area in April some would wonder how many fans would want to come see them again so soon but if you’ve ever seen The All-American Rejects live I’m sure you can attest that they are band that is always worth going to see when they come to town.
Tyson Ritter is still playing bass for the majority of the night as well as performing his usually lead singer duties which is really no small feat. He jokingly made a comment early on in the show that he feels old because he is approaching 30 but he doesn’t show it and his voice has certainly never sounded better. He and the rest of the band walked out to a roaring crowd on the first song as they broke into the opening riffs of “Dirty Little Secret,” a great way to start the night because the crowd loved hearing such a big song so early on.
To many fans the highlights of the set will always be the big songs like “Move Along,” and “Gives You Hell” but in pure musical terms the newer songs from their most recent album from 2012, “Kids In The Street,” are still the best song the band brings to their live performance. I don’t want to discredit the other material because in all honesty there wasn’t a song all night that was performed on point but hearing Nick Wheeler’s echoing guitar riffs and Tyson Ritter’s powerful mix together on “Walk Over Me” is always a moment that shows just how much talent this band really has. The setlist was mixed bag of songs as always and fantastically well paced because the band was able to play an ample amount of songs and still have time to tell a few stories. Tyson Ritter even made a comment to a fan in the crowd that if she wasn’t going to clap that she shouldn’t be up front, he was obviously just joking around with her because he continued to make jest about similar things all night and returned to the fan later in the set to give her a guitar pick.
By the end of the night the crowd had surely begun to lose their voices from singing along to nearly ever song except the slow, yet well performed acoustic song, “Mona Lisa.” Each song you could see people start creeping closer and closer to the stage from their purchased seats and by the middle of the show I think that the Musikfest security accepted that they were losing the battle because they stopped checking tickets and fans began to move freely between sections which only added more energy to the already amped up crowd. It’s a tough sell for a band like The All-American Rejects to have seats at a show because most of their concert going fans aren’t the type to want a seat, though I’m sure some fans were grateful to have the option to sit down in between songs or at the very least have an assigned place to meet back at. Regardless the crowd fed of the band’s energy, especially Tyson’s as he danced around the stage on the songs he wasn’t playing bass guitar on and even as he fell all over the place while singing the aptly named “Fallin’ Apart” early on the set.
Musikfest did well with booking The All-American Rejects for this show because the band delivers a fantastic live set and their fans are always willing to come out to a show even if they had just played in the area a few months back. The setlist was very similar to the Delaware Valley College show but until new material is released (which the band did say they are working on and well be coming out VERY soon) there isn’t a more perfect setlist for them to play then this one :
Dirty Little Secret
Top of the World
Walk Over Me
Stab My Back
One More Sad Song Keyboard Solo
It Ends Tonight
Move Along with Intro of Pixies Song
Kids in the Street
Gives You Hell
The All-American Rejects still put on one of the best live performances of any band in this genre. Tyson Ritter has taken care of his vocals and this time off in between albums has certainly helped him because he has never seemed happier or more appreciative for being able to get on a stage of this size and play to such a large crowd. All the songs, all the stories and all the memories they gave to the fans at Musikfest last night is something that you just don’t see very often in live music which is what sets them apart from the rest bands out there. Hopefully the next time they come back through the area it will be on a massive headline tour in support of their new album but if not the Lehigh Valley will welcome them all the same because The All-American Rejects are always welcome back to put on another fantastic.
Be sure to check out Sight of Sound’s Exclusive two exclusive photo galleries of The All-American Rejects Musikfest performance below :