2015 marked the anniversary of many iconic albums but none are as monumental as the ten year anniversary of Everything in Transit by Jack’s Mannequin. The album is well known for being one of the most groundbreaking conceptual albums in the alternative genre as it tells the story of Andrew McMahon’s return home from touring with his previous band, Something Corporate. Everything in Transit also defined in era in the legacy of Andrew McMahon because shortly after the album’s release he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. McMahon would go on to beat this cancer and tour in support of the album in due time but by then the songs had already taken on a new life to so many of his fans. Jack’s Mannequin would release two more albums to much critical acclaim before they retired the name and ventured out to start new projects. As Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Andrew’s new side project, continued to grow many fans wondered whether a reunion would even be possible at this point and everyone’s career. Andrew was always working in key songs from the Jacks’ days into his set and was never afraid to admit that he knew the songs held a lot of meaning to his fans but it wasn’t until the tour announcement in early December that we knew this special tour would be happening in 2016.
A select few dates, a re-united Jack’s Mannequin and the album that changed the alternative genre as a whole played from top to bottom, what could possibly go wrong? The answer was nothing. Nearly every date sold out on pre-sale or shortly after the public on-sale began and a few dates were eventually added but the tour was still very small in size. Along the way Andrew McMahon filled in his calendar performing some radio events and on-off shows with the Wilderness band but for the most part January belonged to Jack’s Mannequin. The tour wrapped it’s way around the East Coast and on January 31st it made a stop at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, a building that has seen it’s fair share of Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness shows at this point in it’s history.
The line snaked around the building, across streets and down numerous alley ways as fans patiently waited to be filed into the sold out venue. There was no doubt that excitement and anticipation were in the air as the venue quickly filled up to a level in which I have never seen it before. As the lights finally dimmed down for the moment everyone had been waiting so long for a deafening roar echoed the venue as the band walked out with drinks in hand and smiles on their faces. Andrew McMahon raised his drink above his head and gave a quick nod to the audience as he sat behind the piano and the night began just as it did 10 years ago when the album was released with ‘Holiday for Real.’ Instantly the crowd burst to life as they sang a long, on key in some points and at other points just screaming out of pure emotional reaction to the songs. The night had just begun but it would move quickly as Jack’s Mannequin performed again in Philadelphia.
There was very little talking during the first half of the set as the wanted to present the album exactly as it would have been heard when it was released and they took the crowd on a journey through each song moving from “La La Lie” to the iconic “Dark Blue” and the slower back end of the album with “Rescued.” The album ended just as it should with a powerful performance of “Into the Airwaves” and a burst of confetti that covered the venue from front to back. As the lights flickered off the crowd knew the night was over and they were right as Andrew McMahon returned to the stage to greet them once again. There was talking, laughter and more music to be had as Philadelphia celebrated the legacy of Jack’s Mannequin. However after numerous songs from the later part of the band’s career, including a stunning performance of “Swim, the night came to a close with a bang as McMahon crowd surfed during their cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl.”
It took ten years for this album to be played from top to bottom in this way in Philadelphia and every fan there that night would attest that it was well worth the wait. Whether Jack’s Mannequin ever decides tour again or not we can thank them for the music they left behind for us and the incredible night they gave Philadelphia in January.