Saves the Day concert at CMJ well worth the drive

I’ll put this simply. There are very few events that would cause me to drive an hour and a half on the N.J. Turnpike during rush hour, sit in an hour of Lincoln Tunnel traffic in a bus and then drive an hour and a half back at 2 a.m.

What, you may ask, would cause me, a responsible college student, to throw caution to the wind? Saves the Day, my friends, Saves the Day.

Last Thursday, in New York City, Saves the Day played an acoustic show for the College Media Journal (CMJ) Music Marathon. But the greatness doesn’t end there: the band was supported by The New Amsterdams, Hot Rod Circuit, Say Anything and surprise guest Straylight Run. If this wasn’t enough excitement for you, the show was at S.O.B.’s, a tiki-decorated club in the Village.

I was expecting a solo performance by lead singer Chris Conley but the whole band was there in all its glory and I can honestly say it was the best acoustic performance I’ve seen thus far.

The band touched on every album and rocked in a way that should be illegal for acoustic sets.

When an entire club is full of fans yelling “Please come dive in Puddles with me!” at the top of their lungs with the band to “Jessie & My Whetstone,” a favorite off the 1998 acoustic release “I’m Sorry I’m Leaving,” it’s safe to say the show’s going well.

When the audience stood waiting for an encore after the last song, I wasn’t surprised. However, when Conley came back onstage armed only with his acoustic guitar and began to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” I, along with everyone present, was filled with shock, joy and, for lack of better words, pure happiness.

Another surprise that night came when Straylight Run, which wasn’t scheduled to play, showed up and took the stage. The band played slow, melodic songs from their new album, including one of my personal favorites, “Existentialism on Prom Night.”

The New Amsterdams, led by Matthew Pryor, also the lead singer of the Get Up Kids, played a nice set as well. However, the crowd obviously would’ve preferred The Get Up Kids and made that known throughout the set.

Sadly, due to that feisty Lincoln Tunnel Traffic, not only did I miss Say Anything’s set, but I only got to hear one – count it, one – Hot Rod Circuit song as I walked into the club. Lucky for me, it was “Irish Car Bomb,” one of their best sing-along songs. So the show started with a good singalong, even if it wasn’t as much as I would’ve preferred. Regardless, we went to see Saves the Day and were victorious in that quest. More importantly, the band was amazing. Very seldom can a band turn songs from each of its albums into acoustic masterpieces and it’s even more rare for anyone to cover a John Lennon song without seeming inappropriately self-righteous. But Saves the Day did all of this and did it beautifully.

Seriously, if the band were to play acoustic again with The New Amsterdams, Hot Rod Circuit, Say Anything and Straylight Run, I’d make the trip. And on the long, tired drive back to Ewing, I’d just count all the headlights to make sure I’m alright.