I recently had one of the greatest experiences ever in New York City seeing Bleachers live at Radio City Music Hall! This was my first ever Bleachers concert, which felt extra special because it was also their first time headlining the iconic venue at their biggest NYC show yet!

My dad surprised me with front row tickets earlier this year, which is something I still can't believe actually happened! I've been anticipating this show all year and it lived up to all of my expectations and then some! 

I have loved Bleachers for years, the connection I have to their music is like no other. Last year, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Jack Antonoff at a special event at Electric Lady Studios. We also had the chance to hear Bleachers' latest album, Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night, a few days before it was released too! I have written about how meaningful Jack's music has been in my life many times, so all of the events of the past year with meeting him and now being front row for such an incredible show has just been so surreal. 

This was also my first time seeing a concert at Radio City Music Hall, aside from seeing the Rockettes a few times, and it is simply one of the greatest venues. I loved the experience of just being able to see a show there. I'm already looking forward to the next time I get to go again!

Claud was the opener, who was so fun and set the tone perfectly for the rest of the show. I only started listening to their music recently, but I have been enjoying Super Monster so much. I especially loved hearing "Gaurd Down" live, the lyric "There's nothing like a New York summer" has never felt more appropriate! Claud is a great indie artist, I highly recommend checking their music out! 

Bleachers opened the show with "91", which is one of my favorite songs ever. Every time I hear that song, something about it just immediately transports me back to last summer when I heard it for the first time on the way to Electric Lady Studios and later when Jack performed it acoustically on the roof top. Hearing it live again in that setting, almost a year later to the day, felt so special. It really is the perfect opening to both the album and their live shows. 

Then the band transitioned into another long-time favorite song, "Dream of Mickey Mantle". It is also the opener of Gone Now, which is the album that really solidified my love for Bleachers and in a lot of ways changed my life. The songs on that album mean so much to me, so I can't believe I got to hear so many of them live that night! One of my favorite lyrics ever is from "Dream of Mickey Mantle": "All that hope I had when I was young, I hope I wasn't wrong". 

They played every single song that I love, if I were to make my dream Bleachers set-list it probably would've been exactly what they played that night! It was truly so incredible to see those songs come to life on stage in a concert experience that I will never forget. One of the things that I loved so much about the show is how different the live arrangements are for every single song compared to the studio versions. Bleachers music was truly meant to be performed live in a setting like that, every single song felt so electric and in so many ways was unlike any other concert I have been to. Now whenever I listen to songs like "Big Life", "How Dare You Want More", "Wild Heart" and "Let's Get Married", I think back to some of the highest moments from the show! The band was beyond amazing, the energy they brought to Radio City (and every other show they play) is like no other. 

Everyone in the room was so full of energy and felt so connected during the entire show. The times I felt it the most were especially during songs like "Everybody Lost Somebody", "I Miss Those Days" and "I Wanna Get Better". With a song like "Everbody Lost Somebody" in particular, it has grown to have such a different meaning for me, and I'm sure so many others,  from the time I first heard it. It was a beautiful moment hearing thousands of people scream along to the words of that song after all the world has gone through for the past two years, what we have all experienced as individuals,  and all that it took for everyone to be there together in that moment. That sentiment is something that carries through so much of Bleachers music and continues to bring every listener together in such a unique way. That feeling was so strong during the bridge of "I Wanna Get Better" too, there was so much emotion during that part of the song that I think everyone was feeling.

"All My Heroes" is a song I absolutely adore and was so excited it was on the setlist. I still can't believe I got to tell Jack how much I love that song and the connections it has to three of my other favorite songs he produced and co-wrote! Getting to hear more about the meaning behind the song directly from him is a moment I will never ever forget and makes "All My Heroes" even more special for me. The live version also sounded so different from the original, which was so amazing! 

One of the most surreal moments of the show was when Bruce Springsteen came out to perform their song "Chinatown" together! It felt like it was still fairly early on in the show, so it really was so unexpected. My dad and I speculated for months if Bruce was going to be a special guest at the show and it was so cool that he actually was! It was like the cherry on top of what was already such an incredibly surreal night! I loved the way Jack, Bruce, and the rest of the band just looked so happy during the entire song, it was so clear that it was such a special moment for all of them and it was amazing to witness it. It was also their first time ever performing this song live in front of a crowd! The pictures I took during this song are some of my favorites I have ever taken at any concert! 

"Chinatown" as a song encapsulates everything I love about Bleachers, it's hard to even describe it. There is such a strong feeling of nostalgia in this song, especially being from the East Coast and growing up in the Tri-State Area, the essence of both New Jersey and New York are so prevalent. It's such a specific feeling their music gives that made me feel immediately connected to it years ago. I feel the same way about their song "45" too, which they played later in the show. 

After that they played "Don't Go Dark", which is a song I loved ever since the first time I heard Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night. It was even more incredible live! Since the Bruce Springsteen influence on this song especially is so strong it really kept that Jersey momentum going! 

"45" is a song that I have been thinking about ever since the show. It was just Jack performing with an acoustic guitar and you could hear the entire crowd singing the harmonies so loudly along with him. As I said before, songs like "45" and "Chinatown" represent everything I love about Bleachers and hearing those two songs performed that night remind me of everything I love about hearing live music. 

The final songs of the night were some of my favorites ever. "Don't Take The Money" is a song I must have played a million times and I vividly remember being the first song that made me love Bleachers. It's a song that holds so many memories and so much meaning for me, I dreamed of the day I would finally get to hear it live!

"Stop Making This Hurt" was the perfect closing song, to say the least it took all of the Sadness out of my Tuesday night! Like all of the best Bleachers songs, the instrumental is so fun and upbeat, but the lyrics hold such a deeper significance. In an interview with Apple Music, Jack talked about the process of writing it, "There’s all this joy and hope about the next phase of your life. But then there’s all this frustration about ‘I can’t get through this doorway. Whatever I’m carrying does not let me through.’ I was able to access this rage by talking about other people: my dad, my friends and their kids, the world, and a whole new generation of people that are inheriting so much crap. But at the end of the day, I’m right in that struggle with all of them." In another interview with Variety he continued, "...Then the pandemic hit and I got the band in a room and we played like we may never play again. At that point it took on another meaning. Found myself banging at the door of the next phase of my life and to open brings up all the darkness from the past and what’s holding you back. I could intellectualize it for days but what I’m truly left with is a voice in my head shouting “Stop Making This Hurt." 

As I talked about earlier, I have always loved how so much of Bleachers' music does really connect so many people together from all walks of life under the acknowledgement of our own unique paths as well as our shared life experiences. Jack's quotes that I included above really struck me when I first read them because he was able to perfectly sum up complicated or overwhelming periods of life that we all have gone through at one point and put that into a song like "Stop Making This Hurt" and carry it through in the rest of the band's music. There really is no other music quite like their's and I am thankful to have been a part of such a special celebration of that message that night at Radio City! 

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear all of your thoughts in the comment section below! Bleachers forever! 🍅

-Melissa ♡

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