When a tour makes its final stop on its stretch of dates, the fans who attend that show are liable to be in for quite a special evening. Traditionally, the final stop of a tour is also prank night. The artists often unleash the craziest and sometimes cruelest pranks on each other to give it one last "hoorah."
The Falling Up Tour merged co-headliners Falling Up with Ohio-based rapper John Reuben and new bloods The Wedding and Mainstay. With this tour marked Mainstay's flagship tour, it was pretty obvious who would be the likely targets of the evening...
Minnesota-based Mainstay are newly signed to the Tooth & Nail family with their debut Well Meaning Fiction, set for a February 2006 release. The band lead on the crowd that they hailed from Manchester, England, with lead vocalist Justin Anderson successfully donning a faux accent for most of their show. Their brief five-song set was an impressionable one as the band played cuts from their debut, including "Take Away" and "This Could Be." The pranks were inevitable and the Mainstay guys were anticipating it the entire time... and rightfully so. Justin found his mic tampered with honey and their water bottles filled with vinegar. But the highlight of the set came when, during their closing song, "This Could Be," John Reuben's guitar player Greg walked on stage, set a chair down behind Justin, and pretended to sit and read a newspaper. This proved only the beginning as the members of the Wedding charged the stage, each dressed in Halloween costumes, and proceeded to pretend to beat Greg up and battle each other on stage. In the end, I thought the rock quartet took the jokes very well.
The Wedding was next, putting on one of the strangest sets one could ever see. Immersing themselves in the spirit of the night's holiday, each member was dressed as something different -- Jason from the Friday The 13th films, a mummy, a warrior, and a ghostly skeleton. The band renamed each song for the occasion, with "Move This City" being "Destroy This City" and "Wake The Regiment" being "Wake The Dead," for example. It was silly fun that made their set quite enjoyable. The band also played a brand new song entitled "Rebound," from a new EP they've released at live shows. But The Wedding guys weren't able to come away entirely unscathed. During "Move This City," the Mainstay guys dubbed in their own vocals to sing along, mocking the band.
John Reuben took center stage next, revealing through the audiences enthusiasm that he was the main draw of the night. Reuben and band opened with "Move," with "I John Reu" quickly following. Reuben always knows how to work a crowd, no matter what the size, and since taking a band on the road with him a few years ago, his shows have only gotten more entertaining. The aggressive "Follow Your Leader" was followed by the party-friendlies "Do Not," "Gather In," and "So Glad." John, armed with untainted water bottles, included his usual "cheap crowd participation" tricks, which is always well-received. He got serious for a moment to share his beliefs in Christ and performed the darker "Cooperate," before leading into his hit "Nuisance." It was during this song that all went awry for the Reuben team. Members from Mainstay and The Wedding rushed the stage, whirling around the singing rapper, ducktaping Wedding vocalist Kevin Kiehn to the back of John. It persisted until neither could hardly move, and Reuben finished out the song like that until he was cut free. Kevin remained on stage to sing along with John for the anthemic "Doin'," while other members of The Wedding harassed his band members. Finally, John closed with "Out Of Control" from his most recent release The Boy Vs. The Cynic before leaving the stage.
Sadly, the majority of the crowd didn't stick around for the main attraction, Falling Up at around 10:30PM. A slim fifteen or so fans remained up front while only a few more stayed seated for the final set of the night. Members from Reuben's team and The Wedding stayed around the band for most of their set to taunt and harass them from time to time. Before "Searchlights," lead singer Jessy Ribordy announced that instead of pranking the other bands or the audience, he'd prank himself by not drinking any water for their entire hour-long set. During the song, Reuben's drummer Bobby stood in front of Jessy and drank an entire bottle of water savoringly, then opened another, drank some more, and began pouring it on himself. The silliness persisted till the end of the night, when the Falling Up guys exited the stage, and Reuben came out to encourage the crowd to cheer the band back on. Following their encore, Reuben repeated the act, causing the band to break into a riff of his "Out Of Control" in retaliation. For a moment, John acted like he would perform the song on the spot before he abruptly left the stage, returning after the crowd responded in disappointment only to jokingly reprimand Falling Up for their "immaturity."
Being that it was Halloween and the tour's final night made for probably the singlemost off-the-wall concert night I've ever witnessed. I'd recommend the tour if it wasn't finished, but if you get a chance to see these bands independently, you'll be in for a treat. And be sure to look into Mainstay if you're looking for some good new melodic rock.-- John DiBiase, 11/2/05
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