Yellowcard plays final Detroit show

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 at 6:00 PM
Yellowcard plays final Detroit show by Dakota Palmer
Photo: Dakota Palmer

About a month and a half ago, I bought tickets to see Yellowcard on their farewell tour in Detroit. Because I knew my dad wouldn’t agree to go unless I already had the tickets (he doesn’t necessarily like driving far distances for bands he doesn’t love), I broke the news to him and offered to pay for the whole trip. He was in.

We arrived at The Fillmore in Detroit at around 7 p.m., right when the doors opened. It was my dad, our family friend, his fiancée and me... an unlikely group trying to fit in with a crowd that we didn’t fit in with.

Inside, we looked at the mesmerizing walls and ceiling of the venue; the beautiful architecture stood out and we knew we were going to have an amazing night.

The line for the merchandise table was three stories high, so the four of us listened to the two opening bands from inside the lobby, where we were waiting on the stairs to buy some Yellowcard merch for the last time.

Fast forward to about 30 minutes later when the four of us sat down in our seats. Lower balcony, left of the stage. Perfect view. We waited in anticipation as we watched the general admission crowd below anxiously wait for the band that they’ve known and loved for nearly 20 years to come out and rock Detroit one last time.

Finally, the house lights went down and the stage lights shone around for a few minutes before the band came on stage. The crowd got a glimpse of lead singer Ryan Key, violinist Sean Mackin, guitarist Ryan Mendez, bassist Josh Portman and guest drummer Jimmy Brunkvist, drummer from Yellowcard’s opening band, Like Torches.

Mackin started the violin intro for the song “Believe,” and I had tears in my eyes. The lights, the sounds, the emotions were all overwhelming, and I knew this would be a show to remember.

The band played a great mixture of older and newer songs. After the band was finished playing songs from the newest, self-titled album, Key said, “My friends, thank you so much for listening to some new music.”

He went on to say, “If ‘Ocean Avenue’ was your jam in third grade, welcome back. We’ve put out six albums in the last five years, but better you see us late than never.”

Throughout the whole show, the band would take breaks so the members could express their gratitude for the support the fans have given them for the last 20 years.

At one point, Key said: “I love you. I can’t believe how many people are here for this show tonight; it’s truly unbelievable.”

My dad is normally my concert buddy. We’ve seen Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Panic! At the Disco, Weezer, Passion Pit and many more bands together. I was always the one who was the fan of those bands, and he was dragged along with me. Don’t get me wrong, over time he’s come to like the music I listen to, but it’s taken a bit.

I didn’t think my dad could name three Yellowcard songs before this concert. However, during the song “Awakening,”

I was singing along to the song and I looked over at my dad, and he was singing the words too. I felt a lot of pride to have my dad there with me that night, singing along to Yellowcard’s greatest hits.

Similarly, in the row behind us was a teenage boy and his middle-aged mother. The mom was clinging to her purse the whole time and didn’t seem to have much fun. On one of the last songs, I turned around and saw the mom singing the words to her son. After she sang she gave
a thumbs up and her body language looked like she was asking him if she did okay; he smiled, nodded and said yes. They both sang along to “Only One,” together.

Music is so important to so many people, myself included. It brings people together regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. During that concert, no one focused on everyone else’s differences; we were simply all there to see Yellowcard. We all sang along at the top of our lungs and jumped around like crazy people in order to celebrate 20 years of one of the greatest pop-punk bands ever.

The band’s 24-song setlist brought back a lot of memories for the people who attended that concert, and it also created some new ones. This concert, the last time I’ll ever see Yellowcard, was quite frankly the best show I’ve ever been to. The band’s energy and graciousness are unparalleled.

To the band, I say, “Bottoms up tonight, I drink to you and I.” Thank you for a great 20 years of making music, and a whole lifetime of reflecting on your music. 

Dakota Palmer is The Voices Editor for The Spectator and she can be reached at

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