Yellowcard Celebrate 20 Years of Ocean Avenue and More at Packed Armory


Photos by Alexa Chihos

It is a little sad to me that I’m getting to the age where staying out past 9pm automatically gives me a needed recovery day. After the happy chaos that was the Somerset Fall Out Boy show a couple of days ago that made for a very long but worth it night, I picked up a friend and fellow photographer and made out way out to The Armory for a night that was guaranteed to be full of cathartic nostalgia. The much anticipated celebration of the one and only “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard was set to take place, and the venue was filled with anticipation. After an unsuccessful attempt to find a fellow friend working the show, it was time to welcome the opening act to the stage.

The affectionately self proclaimed Hot Topic Mumford & Suns, aka This Wild Life, took the stage right at 7pm. The talented multi-instrumentalist Long Beach duo truly played with their hearts on stage. Even though the set was predominantly an acoustic affair, the duo filled The Armory with singalongs to John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and a fabulous rendition of blink-182’s “I Miss You,” in addition to the blissful sounds of their original music. Honestly their last song “If It’s Cool With You I’m Cool Being Through” instantly sold me on them and made me feel sad I slept on their music for so long. The duo alluded to an unannounced fall tour with a return to the Twin Cities at an intimate venue, and what was sure to be a promise from some of those in attendance to catch them there.

Next up on the bill were legends Story of the Year, a band I have always wanted to see but it up until tonight it was never in the cards for me. With the band making jokes in between songs to attempt to get the crowd to go hard for their set so they don’t have any energy left for Yellowcard’s set, the band was plain fun to listen to, watch, and sing along to. It was easy to see the Story of the Year was having a great time on stage as well, their theatrical performances made their songs come more to life.  The band even riffed a little of “Ocean Avenue” in between songs to keep the anticipation going. There was nothing but good vibes during their set; the band played a short but sweet setlist featuring hits from the beloved “Page Avenue” and newer songs from their 2023 release “Tear Me to Pieces.”  Right after making the promise of a return in the fall/winter, the band closed their set with none other than “Until the Day I Die,” closing out their set with a bang.

After a short changeover, Mayday Parade took their turn on stage. Right away, the energy and fun that Story Of The Year put on was matched, if not elevated by Mayday Parade. Opening with classic “Oh Well, Oh Well” with each band member making an entrance one by one, the band went right into the cathartic nostalgia that most of the crowd was here to enjoy. Right in the middle of their set, the band wheeled out a piano for “Miserable At Best,” with the crowd singing almost as loud as the singing emitting from the stage. What stole the set for me was seeing people of every age, including a very adorable 4-6 year old, getting lost in the moment and dancing and singing along Another short and sweet set, Mayday Parade’s set felt like it was over much sooner than I’d have preferred, but not before the band played two of my favorites “Jersey” and “Jamie All Over.” 

Before I knew it, it was time for Yellowcard to take the stage to a completely packed Armory. Wasting no time getting into the celebration of 20 years of their record Ocean Avenue, the band kicked things off with the first song of the evening from that record, “Way Away.” Lead singer Ryan Key mentioned after a few songs that the last time they played in Minnesota at what was then their farewell tour, they played at a much smaller venue, The Varsity Theater, and didn’t sell it out; a complete contrast to their experience at The Armory. It truly felt like many were seizing the opportunity to catch this band play through their most pivotal record. It took me this long to catch Yellowcard live for the first time, and I was blown away with how incredible the band sounded and even more impressed with how they commanded the attention of the crowd as they worked through their 19 song set. The band made sure to let the crowd and their fellow touring bands how much appreciation and gratitude they had for every person that has supported them. With the band playing new music live for the first time in seven years, Key promised is fans kept showing up en masse to their shows, they would stop playing them again. Before I knew it, the band was already at their encore, saving their most popular tracks for what turned out to be a pretty spic buildup to the cathartic 3 minutes that was “Ocean Avenue.” It’s a shame it took me this long, but Yellowcard put on an absolutely incredible show to celebrate their most beloved album, and a perfect way to spend a Saturday night.