I’ve been to countless co-headlining tours throughout my 35 years on this planet. It’s always the same formula: the two main bands take turns closing out the show, usually alternating tour dates, and limit themselves to about an hour each. When American Authors and Magic Giant announced their co-headlining tour “Band of Brothers” I just assumed this would be the scenario. And with American Authors being based in our very own New York City, I assumed they’d close out the night. I quickly learned that the age old saying “don’t assume, it only makes an ass out of you and me” was never more prevalent than that night.
The crowd was first met with a Plinko board. Yes, like from the Price is Right. But instead of grandiose amounts of money in the slots on the bottom, American Authors and Magic Giant occupied alternating spaces. And it was declared that 3 coins would be dropped and whichever band received two Plinko coins first would open the night. And the first two coins landed in… Magic Giant!
Immediately the board was removed and the indie-folk trio stormed the stage. Opening with “Celebrate the Reckless” off of their 2017 album In the Wind, it was clear that it was going to be a night of singing and dancing. I’ve been listening to Magic Giant for a little over a year now and I was absolutely blown away by their energy. But I was even more impressed by their musicianship, and how 3 guys could master so many instruments and never stop moving. There was synchronized dancing, flips and sing-alongs throughout the next 5 songs before the seamless transition to American Authors. So seamless that all the photographers went scrambling to the front because we had no idea how this night was going to roll out ourselves!
American Authors took the stage and made it clear that while this tour had been life changing, they were happy to be home right here in New York City! The crowd went wild as they started with their hit “Believer.” Front man Zac Barnett hyped up the crowd as he bounced around the stage. They treated the crowd to a bunch of old and newer songs spanning their 3 albums, but just as the show really started to get crazy, American Authors backed down from the stage and Magic Giant appeared in the crowd to play an acoustic version of “The Great Divide.” As that ended American Authors started up with “Luck” on stage. It became evident that this switching of the mic would be the rest of the night and I was living for it. Magic Giant got on the stage again to perform a Simon & Garfunkel cover “Cecilia” with American Authors segwaying into an original collaboration track between the two bands “Rocketman.”
The rest of the night would be a combined set between the two bands. They’d hand off the reigns to each other taking turns playing a few songs, but would have a member or two from the other band join them to jam out. The encore showcased two of their biggest hits: “Window” from Magic Giant and “Best Day of My Life” from American Authors. But the real highlight was their cover of “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes. At this point it was just a giant party on the stage. I have never witnessed a concert like this before. Unique. Seamless. Energetic. Thoughtful. A true innovation in the concert experience. This was the last night of the tour or I definitely would have bought a ticket to another close city to experience it all again!
Magic Giant (MG): Celebrate the Reckless / Glass Heart / Hideaway / Jade / Disaster Party
American Authors (AA): Believer / Stay Around / Right Here Right Now / Say Amen / Go Big or Go Home / Oh, What a Life
MG: Great Divide (acoustic from crowd) | AA: Luck | MG & AA: Cecilia / Rocketman | MG: Nothin’ Left / Shake Me Up / Out of My Head / Set on Fire | AA: Bring It On Home / Neighboorhood / Microphone / Deep Water / I’m Born to Run
Encore (MG & AA): Window / Best Day of My Life / What’s Up? (4 Non Blondes cover)