The Used make everyone sad (but united) at Novo anniversary show

The Used at the Novo (Photo by Courtney Coles)
The Used at the Novo (Photo by Courtney Coles)

It is a very good sign when a room full of ’90s babies are OK with “Bye Bye Bye” being switched off mid-chorus; this is the inherent beauty of an anniversary show.

The Used have been on the road since April to celebrate their 15th birthday, spending two nights in each city to play the albums “The Used” and “In Love and Death” in their entirety. On Saturday night, sounds of static gave way to 2004’s “In Love and Death” album opener “Take It Away” with what seemed like every voice in the room screaming along.

The atmosphere and sense of camaraderie attendees of reunion/anniversary tours feel is unique. As someone who has been vicariously reliving the best bits (to be honest, the only good bits) of being a teenager through such shows for the past couple of years, I can vouch for that. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia. Perhaps it’s the sense of singular purpose. Perhaps it’s knowing that every single person in the room decided to be here because they at one point loved the same music. Perhaps it’s the novelty of knowing none of you were old enough to go to the bar when you first fell in love with these songs. Either way, when singer Bert McCracken ended the first song with instructions for a massive group hug, nobody in the Novo failed to oblige.

Three songs in, a brief — and fascinating — “Stand By Me” interlude softened the mood in the venue considerably. “Everyone in here is gonna lose someone,” McCracken said. “Please tell someone if you love them.” Then he launched into the incredibly sad “All I’ve Got”.

After “Cut Up Angels,” emotions were running high and the twentysomethings in the room whose lower backs were still on board paid homage to the Warped Tours of old with a small circle pit on the main floor. This continued through the next five tracks (“Listening,” “Yesterday’s Feelings,” “Light with a Sharpened Edge,” “Sound Effects and Overdramatics” and “Hard to Say”).

As the evening began to draw to a close, McCracken took the mic to wax poetic about the way so-called emo music impacted his life for the better — a sentiment echoed by every former-scene kid in the room. “I feel the magic in this room and it makes me feel so fucking alive,” he said. “Thank you so much.”

As the last notes of the encore, “Handsome Awkward,” rang out through the venue, McCracken had one last request of the  he asked that they scream as loud as they could. Again, no dissenters.

Photos by Courtney Coles

|| Live: The Used play the Observatory tonight and Tuesday and again June 4-5.

Setlist: Take It Away, I Caught Fire, Let It Bleed, Stand By Me (Interlude), All That I’ve Got, Cut Up Angels, Listening, Yesterday’s Feelings, Light With a Sharpened Edge, Sounds Effects and Overdramatics, Hard to Say, Lunacy Fringe, I Shot the Sheriff (Interlude), I’m A Fake, Handsome Awkward