Over the last twenty-four years, few bands have had such an impact on their listeners or contributed to the soundtrack of their lives more than New Found Glory. The Pop-Punk legends have always created such fun and uplifting music that always have their fans cranking up the volume and singing along. But on January 20th of this year, the band ventured into uncharted territory and released their first ever acoustic album Make the Most of It which included seven new tracks, as well as seven incredibly re-imagined versions of some of their biggest songs. And tonight, at the Keswick Theater, the almost sold-out crowd will be treated to a New Found Glory show like they’re never seen before.
As the band took the stage, they were immediately greeted with a thunderous standing ovation. The lineup looked a bit different than fans are used to seeing, as drummer Cyrus Bolooki is seated stage right armed with an acoustic guitar and of course, the noticeable absence of guitarist Chad Gilbert. NFG would recruit the help of Ten Years Strong guitarist Dan O’Connor in Gilbert’s omission. The band would kick off the night with a slice of new music with the moving track Get Me Home before tearing into the classics like Hit or Miss and Understatement. Even without the over the top stage presence and energy you’d normally get at a New Found Glory show, the atmosphere in the room was overwhelmingly intimate. With the lack of electric guitars and pounding drums, the crowd’s voices were given the chance to really lift up behind Jordan Pundiks vocals and created such a warm feeling in the room.
The first song I had heard off the new record was Mouth to Mouth and was honestly up there with the songs I was most looking forward to hearing. The song’s emotional tone and lyrics are taken from Gilbert’s own brush with death, and you could just feel that from each member of the band as they performed it. New Found Glory gave new and old fans a taste of something from just about every record in their career. One song that fans have wanted to see live for years was a little number called Too Good to Be off the band’s 2006 album Coming Home. The song would send Bolooki behind the keyboard and would also give bassist Ian Grushka his time to shine on none other than… the triangle. Every single elegant strike of the polished piece of steel caused the crowd to give Grushka a rousing ovation of appreciation.
Once No News is Good News makes its appearance in the set, Cyrus would find his way to a familiar spot behind the drum kit and provide a hard hitting pulse behind the music for the first time tonight. NFG would roll from that, right into a classic signature tune with the fan favorite Dressed to Kill. One of the biggest questions I was asking myself going into the show was how the non-acoustic studio songs would sound or if the structure of them would change. But each song was in a way, a breath of fresh air. We’re so used to hearing the songs in a certain way, and to hear them re-imagined like this, is almost like hearing them for the first time. But the fan’s excitement for each passing song was more than enough proof that no matter how the songs are presented, they are just as passionate about them.
New Found Glory has put together one of the best collections of covers out there over their long career. And one song that fit perfectly into this tour was of course, The Goo Goo Dolls iconic Iris. The song is so powerful and impassioned on its own. But how New Found Glory presents it to this crowd, it just created an overwhelming feeling as the entire room chants the words. Many fans put their arms on the shoulders of those next to them and swayed back and forth as they got lost in the moment.
Following a short break, the band returns to the stage to begin the raffle. Before the show, fans could buy tickets for their chance to win an acoustic guitar with all the proceeds going to the bands charity to raise awareness of Chad’s rare form of cancer, Pheochromocytoma. As Jordan scans the crowd for someone to pick the ticket, he spots a young girl and calls her up for the drawing. The young lady picks the lucky number and who’s ticket does she snag? None other than her own sister who brought her to the show. The band and the crowd get a big laugh about it as Jordan tells the crowd “The fix is in!”. The band invited the whole clan up on stage to collect the guitar with the Price is Right theme song playing and to grab a memorable photo.
As the encore takes flight, NFG would kick it off with a gem going way back to the beginning with their legendary anthem Broken Sound. You could see each face in the crowd light up with excitement as the first few notes leave the strings. The fan’s excitement would only grow as Dan O’Connor started to strum out another classic which has been another highly requested acoustic transition with Sonny. The band would bring out tour opener Leanna Firestone to help out on keys and backup vocals. The newly teamed five piece would perform a moving performance off their renowned 2004 record Catalyst with I Don’t Want to Know. Then TERROR guitarist Martin Stewart would join in on the fun and help out on the band’s epic cover of Edward McCain’s classic I’ll Be. And then, New Found Glory would wrap up this amazing and absolutely staggering twenty-one song set over a sea of illuminated cell phones with their uplifting ballad Dream Born Again.
This was the first time I’ve taken in an all acoustic show and needless to say, I was blown away. New Found Glory put together such an incredible show that really captivated this audience and for such an amazing cause. With only 7 shows left on this run, you definitely don’t want to miss your chance to be a part of this special experience. Be sure to grab tickets while they still last! For your chance to help New Found Glory spread the word and raise awareness to Pheochromocytoma, check out the special T-Shirt the band has up for sale on their site!