Jack's Mannequin Says Farewell With Emotional Sendoff Show

Jack's Mannequin Andrew McMahon - H 2012
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Jack's Mannequin Andrew McMahon - H 2012

It was a packed house Sunday at the El Rey Theatre on L.A.’s Miracle Mile as patrons from across the country clamored to see singer Andrew McMahon and his band say goodbye to Jack’s Mannequin, their beloved side project-turned-main project.

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Early on, McMahon joked with the audience that, after meeting some fans before the show, “there might be more people from the East Coast than the West Coast out here.” The sentiment speaks to McMahon’s incredibly loyal longtime following, which has tracked his career since Something Corporate exploded onto the music scene when McMahon was just a teen. They’re the same fans who supported McMahon through his battle and victory over leukemia at just 22 and now, as McMahon embarks on a new musical journey that needs no clever moniker.

In an interview several weeks before the show, McMahon told The Hollywood Reporter: “It's just that I'm not calling [my music] Jack's anymore because it's attached to so much brutal history. … And if it does or doesn't work, at least I know I got out in front of my shit and I didn't try and hide behind something."

Despite that “brutal history," there were many happy memories shared onstage Sunday night. McMahon proclaimed the occasion “the end of an era” and said he was “sad to see it go.” He recalled the band’s first show at nearby Molly Malone’s many years ago and shared the story behind writing “Amy, I” with Matt Thiessen of Relient K, who opened the show. (The song was born after a night of drinking and inspired by snow atop the trees of Nashville.)

The set list mixed upbeat old favorites (“Holiday From Real,” “I’m Ready” and “Mixed Tape”), with slow ballads from 2008's The Glass Passenger (“Annie Use Your Telescope” and “Swim”) and a few newer tracks (“Amy, I,” “My Racing Thoughts”). With three albums worth of songs to choose from, the tracks represented a pretty balanced mix -- if maybe a little heavy on the band's 2005 debut Everything in Transit content (no complaints here!).

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While McMahon generally has been hesitant to combine Something Corporate songs with Jack’s material onstage, his performance of 2003's “Konstantine” was a fitting compromise for the fans who clamored to buy tickets for the first show before scalpers cleaned out the house, leading to the addition of a second date Monday.

McMahon apologized to those who were upset by the change in plans, making the actual last show on Monday instead of Sunday, but was quick to point out that the additional date has raised a great deal more money for his Dear Jack Foundation.

But he needn’t have worried; all seemed forgiven once he took the stage. When McMahon began to offer his apologies, one female fan gleefully shouted, “It’s OK!”

In a continued effort to make peace, McMahon told the crowd that he would perform the beloved “Konstantine” only for the Sunday night audience, joking, “We’re not doing this one on Monday, so don’t tell them.” McMahon also acknowledged the significance of the date, Nov. 11, a sly nod to one of his “Konstantine” lyrics.

At certain points during the night, audience members displayed higher levels of emotion than even McMahon let on, particularly on “Konstantine” and “Dark Blue.

Concluding with a wicked harmonica solo on “La La Lie,” McMahon left the crowd with a note of positivity.

“This has been a wild ride,” he said, “and I wouldn’t change one solitary second of it.”

Set list:
Holiday From Real
Release Me
Annie Use Your Telescope
My Racing Thoughts
The Resolution
Amy, I
Restless Dream
The Mixed Tape
I'm Ready
Dark Blue

La La Lie

Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci