On August 1st, 2023, Gallagher Square at Petco Park in San Diego turned into a haven for nostalgic emo music lovers, as Yellowcard celebrated the 20th anniversary of their iconic album Ocean Avenue. The beautiful outdoor event was made even more special with the presence of talented opening acts This Wild Life, Anberlin, and Mayday Parade.
Kicking off the night, This Wild Life set the stage on fire with their pop rock magic.
Kevin Jordan’s soulful vocals and Anthony Del Grosso’s impressive guitar skills were on full display, winning over the audience instantly with an acoustic rendition of blink-182‘s classic “I Miss You”. Their music from the new album Never Fade left a lasting impression, setting the bar high for the rest of the night.
Next up was Anberlin, who made a triumphant return after a five-year hiatus. The band’s energy was infectious and vocalist Stephen Christian’s gratitude was palpable as the crowd reciprocated his love and excitement. Hits like “Godspeed” and “Feel Good Drag” had the audience singing along passionately, while new songs from their EP Silverline were also well-received, reaffirming their enduring charm.
Mayday Parade continued the exhilarating journey down memory lane, taking the audience back to 2009 with an emotive performance. From the powerful “Oh Well, Oh Well” to the heartfelt “Miserable at Best”, vocalist Derek Sanders and drummer/vocalist Jake Bundrick led an emotional sing-along, creating a profound connection with the elder emos in attendance.
Ending with the electrifying “Jersey,” Mayday Parade left the stage on a high note.
But the night belonged to Yellowcard and they lived up to every expectation. Bursting onto the stage with “Way Away”, “Breathing”, and “Lights and Sounds”, the band showcased their unmatched stage chemistry and proved why they remain a beloved force in the emo scene. Ryan Key’s commanding presence and passionate vocals ignited the crowd, who sang along with every word, embracing the nostalgic atmosphere.
After an emotional moment during the three-song encore, Yellowcard closed the night with the anthemic “Ocean Avenue”. It was a full-circle moment, as the audience basked in the memories of two decades of the song being a soundtrack to their lives. The outdoor setting, perfect weather, and remarkable performances created an unforgettable night for San Diego’s emo community. Yellowcard’s celebration of Ocean Avenue was more than a concert; it was a heartwarming reunion of fans, reliving their cherished memories and reigniting their love for music that defined their youth. It was a night that will forever hold a special place in the hearts of everyone present.
Photography by Franny Kovacs