On their summer tour since May, Young the Giant’s San Diego date unexpectedly became their final stop. It was an evening postponed; displaced by hurricane Hilary, which turned tropical SoCal storm. It was a strong enough storm to blow away the tour openers; Milky Chance would not make their San Diego appearance after all, a huge bummer for such a popular act that rarely tours the States. Show openers Talk and Rosa Linn were also scratched from the lineup.
Yet, for any Young the Giant purist, this date was anything but a missed opportunity. Instead, it was a chance to trip out on the new show opener, Peach Tree Rascals.
These rascals were a San Jose, TikTok trending “collective” (or, boy band), sporting fancy, printed boxer shorts, while gallivanting the stage like male cats seeking out and singing about young love.
Genuinely, Peach Tree Rascals were endearing, and they garnered warm cheers for entertaining. They were what the storm brought in – more of the unexpected.
Clearly, playing San Diego meant a lot to Young the Giant. SoCal is their home zone – having formed miles up the road in Irvine – with bassist Payam Doostzadeh, a graduate of U.C. San Diego (where the band historically performed twice). So, with the stage now set, the question became: “What type of show would this be for the final date of a 38-show, summer run for the American Bollywood Tour?”
Unlike so many bands that tour under the title of a new album (and then sheepishly skip live almost every song on that release), Young the Giant was different. They were brave. The band opened with the first album track, “American Bollywood,” then followed that with another new track, “Wake Up.” Amazingly, the band would go on to perform seven new album tracks over the course of the evening. Nobody does that, right? At least nobody with 10 plus years of hits? But, Young the Giant did. This was a band driving home new songs – very impressive. They also highlighted their latest single, “The Walk Home.”
The larger “theme” for the show was for the band to perform four separate acts – like the band’s four recent EPs that culminated into the band’s latest album, “American Bollywood.”
On this note, the band held to their summer tour routine. This was important, for it carried their album’s message; not just about American immigration (Act I), but about being a stranger in strange land (Act II), about fighting to fit in (Act III), and about making sense out of it all and achieving something worth sharing on life in its greater context (Act IV).
Whether or not anyone was following each Act or theme closely didn’t matter. Out of the 18-song set, lead singer and front-man Sameer Gadhia put on an active, energizing show. He danced, held dramatic postures, and made more funny faces than those featured in a subliminal film festival. And, the band peppered this night with eight popular singles. Always a crowd favorite, “Cough Syrup” ended the first Act, the soulful single “The Walk Home” was featured in the second, “Mind Over Matter” rang out the third, and forever their career-launching hit, “My Body,” ended the night.
This was a brilliantly, well-crafted, post-hurricane show. Memorable moments included Gadhia, talking about new song “I Bite” as a thoughtful tribute to one of the “toughest jobs,” which is that of being a father.
His lyrics, “why father, why father do you never cry,” arose a sense of deprivation, duty and struggle, as a struggle with fatherhood itself, a normal crisis of parenthood which Gadhia now faces, a sentiment he shared with the audience.
Ending Act three, for the song “Firelight,” an audience cellphone (candlelight-by-flashlight) vigil was epic, as coordinated by the band from the stage, allowing the audience to now be more than simply spectators, but a part of the greater show.
This was an exciting moment for everybody, especially with the steep slope of the amphitheater bowl further driving the picturesque effect into a profoundly cool vision to behold.
YOUNG THE GIANT by Brian Ross Photography
Young the Giant remains a must-see, memorable alt-rock sensation, with the creativity and integrity to put out a new album, and then genuinely tour behind it.
In that spirit, their final summer date was both a celebration of what’s new, and a grand finale of who they’ve always been live: brave, creative, upbeat, meaningful, and motivational.