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Had you asked 2017 Chris if he would attend an AJR concert in 2024, he’d for sure yes. Current Chris, however, was not so sure prior to three days ago, having not listened to the band since
their 2021 album, “OK ORCHESTRA.” However, when the opportunity arose to witness their first arena tour, I was a bit surprised to be as excited as I was.

Opening Sunday’s show at CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore was Australian pop singer, Dean Lewis, who played for around 40 minutes before the Met brothers began their set. He sang
familiar favorites, like “Be Alright” and “Waves,” and even covered Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” and “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls, of which I found the latter to be more impressive. Nonetheless, his vibe was a fine fit for this concert and seemed to resonate with the crowd.

Finally, it was time for Adam, Jack and Ryan to hit the stage, beginning the show with a brief voiceover before starting with the titular song of this tour, “Maybe Man.” Unfortunately, they
didn’t play any overtures like they have on their past albums, which I always love as a theatre fan, so that was kind of a let down for me – especially since I wasn’t too familiar with the songs from their latest album. However, the main reason I originally fell in love with their music was because of the way they utilized and showcased a variety of instruments in a theatrical way, and thankfully the rest of their set reminded me why I fell in love with them in the first place.

While they played more fan favorites than I was expecting, such as “Sober Up,” “Karma,” and “Weak,” I did feel a bit out of place when they played a cover of a fan-made mashup with instrumentals of the 2019 song “Birthday Party” (which I was familiar with) but with the lyrics of a new song “I Won’t” (which I was unfamiliar with). The two songs worked perfectly with one another, but hearing this live made me wish I knew the lyrics to the newer song.

Evolving the show to fit an arena format allowed them to highlight their musical talents on an even greater scale, with visuals of trumpets flying through the various layers of screens and dramatically popping up through the stage’s trap doors on beat. However, they did seem to recycle some elements that they have used in prior productions, such as the signature “walking song,” where Jack, the lead singer, will walk along a conveyor belt in tandem with moving images on the screen behind him. They also showed us how they made one of their songs, “Way Less Sad,” which honestly doesn’t seem to get old no matter how many times you witness their inspiring creative process.

While I probably wouldn’t have made every effort to go see this show up until three days ago, I’m thrilled to once again feel the joy that was reignited within me from experiencing this production and am gratified to see how far they’ve come and how they’ll continue to elevate their shows for years to come.

For more information on “The Maybe Man Tour,” visit www.ajrbrothers.com.

Grade: B+

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