On Saturday, March 11th, Bayside’s Just Like Home Tour visited Philadelphia at a sold-out Union Transfer. The tour was doused in New York style as the veteran melodic emo outfit brought fellow New Yorkers, I Am the Avalanche and Koyo, along for the ride. Bayside’s veteran status was telling, not of age, but of stellar, heartfelt showmanship on this second to last date of the tour.
Just moments before Bayside was set to take the stage, the lights went out and, instead of instruments, a collage of audio recordings began to play. These recordings echoed into the still room, each voice booming a powerful sense of diverse sentimentalism toward the band. Testimonies from people of all walks of life filled the space, each one detailing a different listener’s attachment to the band and what Bayside had meant to them over the past 23 years of the band’s career. The anticipatory reflection of each word transfixed everyone in the crowd, messages of emotional sincerity seeping into people’s ears and into their hearts. In this moment, the name of the tour was fully realized; Bayside was just like home for everyone there and the weight the band’s music carried in people’s lives was evident. And then the lights came on. That pent-up admiration absolutely exploded in a set thoroughly engaged by a packed room of Bayside fans.
Despite their expansive discography, Bayside found a way to cater to fans new and old alike. The band pulled from several of their past releases, with classics like “Montauk” and “Devotion and Desire” from 2005’s Bayside all the way up to the band’s latest single releases, “Go to Hell” and “How to Ruin Everything (Patience).”
Bayside’s eclectic setlist highlighted the band’s ability to achieve a successful variety of sounds. Fan favorite, “Strangest Faces,” was a catchy singalong, something of a twisted nursery rhyme that coaxed the crowd to chant its lyrics. “Prayers” was a powerful anthem with its guitar riff-driven might and commanding drum pounds, its instruments elevating the animated dramatics of Raneri’s theatrical voice in this song. “It Don’t Exist” was a moment of respite as this acoustic love song floated above the crowd in content.
Every word vocalist Anthony Raneri released into the room was caught by the crowd and thrown right back as listeners shouted in united excitement. Old fans recited lyrics with enthusiasm as they traveled back to a time where these releases first resonated with them while new fans hopped about, crowd surfing and jumping with friends to their fresh musical discovery; every type of fan in that room was validated (including a venue security guard who mouthed the words as he caught bodies flying over the barricade).
The crowd answered the band’s constant calls to them, showcasing a special connection between band and fan that made strangers feel like friends. “How many of you saw us when you were teenagers?” Raneri asked of the longtime Bayside listeners. Questions like “Who here has seen us before?” and “Is anybody out there Philly?” elicited resounding cheers. This back-and-forth banter was proof of a profound reliance; Bayside had been there for their listeners at various points in their lives and everyone in the room was eager to return the favor.
The most striking moment of the night came toward the end of Bayside’s set. After a roaring chorus of people shouting “Bayside,” the band kicked off their encore with “Don’t Call Me Peanut.” In the middle of the song, Raneri took a step back and held his guitar to the sky in silence; the collective voice of the crowd soured and filled the room to the brim until the warmth of the moment poured out the doors. It was a beautiful blip in the night made of an endless sea of unique voices and, behind them, the lives of individuals with a shared dedication to the band.
With energetic guest appearances from I Am the Avalanche’s vocalist Vinnie Caruana and Koyo’s vocalist Joey Chiaramonte, the stage bled New York during Bayside’s set. However, location didn’t matter within the confines of the venue walls that night. As the band’s set came to a close, it became clear that the tour was an ode to people who mutually inspire and encourage each other no matter where they come from, that being surrounded by the right group of people can make anywhere feel just like home.
Show Date: 03.11.23 | Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer | Bayside Captivates After 23 Years