For roughly an hour and a half last night at Mizner Park Amphitheater, there was no war in Syria, mass shooters don’t prowl navy yards, we’re not headed toward another fiscal crisis, and the NSA spies on, like, nobody. All problems foreign and domestic melted away like a snowman in July at the Fun. show, as a sold-out crowd of 4,500 packed the seatless courtyard of the amphitheater for 90 minutes of escapist musical therapy. The weather couldn’t have been better for an outdoor concert, with clear skies and a slight breeze usurping the late afternoon heat; as the band played its last song, “Stars,” it was clear that the stars must have aligned for this show.
The positive energy and therapeutic healing went both ways; in addition to the typical pandering comments he probably uses to flatter every city Fun. visits – “We haven’t had a crowd this awesome in a long time,” etc. – lead singer Nate Ruess seemed to have his mood genuinely lifted by the love and energy emanating from the audience. After an unforgettable performance of the nouveau campfire sing-along “Carry On,” Ruess said, “I’ve been in the worst freakin’ mood all day, but this…,” referring to the crowd, which was more than happy to take credit for lifting his spirits. The man seemed to love Boca Raton so much, I wouldn’t be surprised if he invests in a property here.
(crowd photos by Yafi Yair)
From the get-go, however, you wouldn’t be able to guess that Ruess had an iota of melancholy in him. After the intimate huddle of the “Some Nights” intro, the band launched into its first full song of the night, the anthemic fist-pumper “One Foot,” during which Ruess controlled the crowd in evangelistic fervor. He was the quintessential charismatic frontman throughout, rallying his troops both onstage and off. He barely stopped to breathe last night – he was a perpetual motion machine and a never-ending fount of energy. And toward the end, he gladly accepted a woman’s undergarment that was thrown his way.
From what I could tell from my upper-level box seat, the audience was free of problems, save for a girl who managed to dart past a security guard, hop a fence at stage left, jump atop an amplifier and almost make it onto the stage before being snatched off, during “Barlights;” she was being escorted out of the amphitheater until she broke free from her handler and escaped into the teeming mass of fans. The age range last night spanned from seniors to children, and a few people sent pleasant waves of marijuana drifting up to the boxes every now and then.
Being the theatrical showmen they are, it wouldn’t be a Fun. concert without confetti, which blasted from canons at the end of “Barlights,” the thousands of tiny pieces peppering the air inside and outside the amphitheater like firecracker residue. Arriving at the end of a song like that and not, say, “We Are Young,” was a surprise, but not more so than the band’s straightforward, impassioned cover of the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” True, but for 90 minutes at least, it’s safe to say we all did.
Some Nights (intro)
Walking the Dog
Why Am I the One?
At Least I’m Not as Sad
All the Pretty Girls
It Gets Better
Rock and Roll Part Two/Barlights
We Are Young
You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones)