Andrew McMahon plays the entire album, top to bottom, more than 10 years after its release.
At 9:15 p.m., the house lights went down and hands went up. All the original members of Jack’s Mannequin took New York City’s Irving Plaza stage and were greeted by a sold out crowd, 1,000 strong to celebrate the 10th birthday of the band’s debut album, Everything In Transit. Everyone has a band that helped them wrangle the pent-up, middle-finger-to-the-man, infinite energy of youth — an artist who looked into their teenage eyes and convinced them, “I’m a misfit too!” Jack’s Mannequin, the once-seeming-side project of Something Corporate’s Andrew McMahon, was that for many.
McMahon wrote and recorded Everything In Transit in Los Angeles during the summer of 2004. The story surrounding the collection is well known (and chronicled in the 2009 documentary Dear Jack): The day McMahon finished mastering the album, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He began chemotherapy immediately and the album came out in August 2005 with little label promo support but much fanfare. He was still in treatment and the supporting tour was postponed indefinitely.
Now, a decade after going into remission, McMahon is touring with the album, playing it top-to-bottom for the first time.
While recording, McMahon remembers, “I was having the time of my life.” He says, “I was 22 and I just blew up my band [Something Corporate]. My buddies were working wait staff jobs, we were all living in a house together, smoking weed around my couch going, ‘What’s next?’ It was extraordinary, I’ll be clear about that. I knew that I was striking out to do this thing and that I loved the music. It was one of those records where I felt like I could do no wrong. I would go to the studio with a song and by the time it was done I would be driving home going, ‘This is amazing, it’s the best song I ever wrote.'”
He ended the night crowd-surfing across the floor, singing Tom Petty’s “American Girl” with triumphant, reckless abandon. But the most exhilarating moment of the night came earlier, when McMahon launched into Transit‘s “Made For Each Other Pt. 1.” “Is it possible for the world to look this way forever?” fans howled. Of course, McMahon and the crowd both now know it’s not — but for 75 minutes on a Tuesday night in New York City, everyone believed it just might.
The 10 Years In Transit Tour continues Wednesday night at New York’s Irving Plaza. It will finish In Boston on Thursday. Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness will tour this summer with Panic! at the Disco and Weezer.