by Eric Sandy
The pop rock band du jour - and du 2012 - stopped by Nautica last night to christen Cleveland with a mid-July set of modern-era hits and danceable anthems. The show sold out months ago, paving the way for a crowd full of diehard fans and, inevitably, more than a few reluctant parents.
Bizarrely enough, the pit was converted to reserved seating, effectively putting the kibosh on hopes for a relentless dance party throughout the night. Nonetheless, the mood was heightened and ecstatic from the moment the band hit the stage for a quaint and delightful "Some Nights (Intro)." The early portion of the evening garnered highlights in "At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)," "All Alone" and "All The Pretty Girls."
The band was pretty conversational, but the most prominent moment of stage banter came halfway through the show, when Ruess discussed what the band members did with their free day in Cleveland on Monday. Hilarity ensued, on some level, as he rattled off all sorts of fresh Cleveland jokes: The Tigers beat the Tribe! The Cuyahoga River caught on fire a few times! There's *not that much* to do in town!
The banter led into a slightly botched take on "The Gambler." It may very well be the best song the band has written, but an unexpected and unexplained short circuit cut the song right down the middle. Ruess and Co. picked it right back up and finished the ballad off with aplomb.
Massive balloons descended from the rafters as the band lit into a pretty solid rendition of The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want." The whole bit was fun, though parents and children of all ages soon began hoarding the balloons and ending the cover song party. One man was even spotted just patiently waiting to get his paws on a balloon before carting it off into the stands.
The encore included the simply-gotta-have-it "Some Nights" (the crowd was waiting for it all night, duh) and "Stars," which bled into a truly sublime outro as everyone parted ways for the night.
To conclude, in case you haven't the heard the song at all - at any point out in public this past year - "WE ARE YOOOOUUUNG..." Now, please do enjoy having that one stuck in your head today.