The set-up for the show was beautiful – from the Black Market banner, to the rugs that were laid on the floor, and the big bold letters that lit up, spelling out RISE in dimensional multicolour. Smoke settled around the dark stage as the silhouette figures of Rise Against made their entrance. Frontman Tim Mcllrath joined his band-mates at the same time, not pausing for effect.
The band performed with the ease of seasoned veterans. They ended each song as if it were their last, drawing it out with long breakdowns and solos. Mcllrath encouraged the crowd to sing along, yelling out, “I wanna walk away with your voices ringing in my ears.”
During the second song ‘Give It All’, he jumped down from the stage and climbed over the barriers to the crowd, where the pit enveloped him. Standing above his fans, he screamed out to them, as they grabbed and pulled at his hands and shirt. When the song came to an end he continued to interact with them, high-fiving everyone within arms length.
Each and every song was accompanied by an amazing performance. The band was spot on to the recorded tracks; barely any difference could be recognized. Mcllrath’s voice was simply spectacular. Whether he had backup or not, his vocals rang strong simply acapella.
“We played on this very day, in this very venue two years ago. I hope a black hole doesn’t come and swallow us on the way out,” Mcllrath joked. The band was very sincere in their thanks to their international fan base. He mentioned a number of times how happy he was to see such a responsive crowd, not only because they were from across the pond, but also because it was a Sunday night. “We came a long, long way for a very simple reason… you.”
They used the stage as their jungle gym, climbing on all the equipment and amplifiers. Traversing numerous times, each member gave each side of the crowd a show. Guitarist Zach Blair would kick while playing throwing his leg up as high as it would go, and Mcllrath would stare intently at the crowd while singing, fixating both his blue and his brown eye on them.
While looking out over the crowd, Mcllrath paused to ask a fan in the middle of the pit if he was okay. The horde pulled him out and handed him to security, where they gave him some water because he looked pained and severely dehydrated. “Hope you all don’t mind if we stop for a second,” Mcllrath exclaimed. “I wanna make sure he’s alright.” After the boy gained back his composure he grabbed the singers hand in a gesture of thanks and Mcllrath nodded back. It was fantastic to see a band who cared enough about their fans to stop the show instead of just letting whatever happen, happen.
“It’s hard to explain to your parents or your teachers or whoever, but it’s a beautiful thing,” Mcllrath commented about the chaotic mosh pit swirling in the middle of crowd after the boy was taken out. “If you don’t understand it, well then I guess you weren’t meant to.”
Rise Against finished with not one, but two encores including an acoustic set. During the last song, ‘Savior’, they made the break down last multiple minutes before singing the rest of it and saying goodbye. It was a thrilling evening with a seasoned band that knew how to put on a show. Anyone in the crowd was sure to say it was one of the best performances they had seen in a while.