Rise Against and Bad Religion Bring “Tour of the Year” to Boston
April 29th 2011
House of Blues Boston
Rise Against sure does know how to pick openers. Recent tour mates have included the likes of Thursday, Circa Survive, Billy Talent, Alkaline Trio, Thrice, The Gaslight Anthem, Rancid… and the list goes on . That’s why it was no surprise when they announced their most recent mega-tour, this one with support from punk legends Bad Religion and Worcester natives Four Year Strong. Their appearance at the House of Blues in Boston on April 29th was their first of two sold-out shows, and after witnessing the three live sets, it was obvious why this tour had no trouble selling tickets.
The night started off with a half hour set from Four Year Strong. As the local favorites, at least half the fans in attendance seemed to be into it, not bad for an opener. I was pleasantly surprised to see they had dropped the cheesy synth parts from their live show, which allowed the set to take on a much heavier, punk-rock feel than they displayed on their first record. All in all, probably a band I should get more familiar with.
Next was Bad Religion. After having played their own headlining show at the same venue last fall, they were easily able to get the crowd involved as they performed a set of material that spanned their 30 year career. Just like they had in October, they sounded great, and Greg Graffin was sure to include quite a bit of “We’re so old” between song banter. They finished the set in particularly strong fashion with the trio of “We’re Only Going to Die,” “Los Angeles is Burning,” and “Sorrow.” Their 15 song set was, of course, too short for satisfaction, but seeing them twice in less than a year was already more than most fans could ask for.
A half hour later, Rise Against took the stage and proved why they are one of today’s best live acts. The intensity they bring to each and every show is practically unmatched among their peers. Every song seems like it is a call to arms, urging the crowd to d fight for what they believe in, or at least put their fists in the air and sing along.
Surprisingly, the band strayed away from their new album Endgame, playing only four of the new tracks. Much of the setlist (7 songs) came from their excellent 2008 release Appeal to Reason. No matter the song, frontman Tim Mcllrath looked like a man possessed, with his eyes as wide as saucers and veins ready to explode. This is, of course, par for the course at a Rise Against show.
In addition to the seven songs from Appeal to Reason, the band also worked in five songs from their fan-favorite 2006 effort Sufferer and the Witness, and included an acoustic interlude that features “Swing Life Away” and “Hero of War.”The band would then close the set with the pounding Sufferer track “Ready to Fall.”
While the whole encore thing has grown old for pretty much everyone who goes to more than two shows a year, there is something to be said for a band that really puts effort into their encores. Rise Against is one of those bands, returning for a four song stint that did not include any of their big singles, but instead focused on choice cuts from three different albums. “Blood Red White and Blue” was the lone representative from 2004’s Revolutions Per Minute, while “Entertainment” and “Savior” were also included from Appeal to Reason. The closing number was the song that originally drew me to Rise Against, that being “Give It All” from 2004’s Siren Song of the Counter Culture. I still believe this is the song that embodies everything that makes Rise Against one of today’s most successful rock bands, from it’s sincere lyrics and epic bridge to it’s fist-pumping chorus.
Needless to say, I left the show a very happy customer. While it was slightly disappointing to not be attending the second Boston show, I knew that Rise Against is the type of band that never stops touring, and would probably have another big announcement coming shortly. It turns out I was right, as they were announced as the support band on the Foo Fighters Fall arena trek. Talk about a mega-tour.