Article by: Kelly Milionis, Senior Contributing Writer/Interviewer/Reviewer
Photos by: Tyler Curtis of Darkroom Demons www.darkroomdemons.com
Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan, and Glen Power, collectively known as The Script, rocked Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom Saturday night in a manner Hollywood could not have written any better. Truly one of the best pop rock shows I have witnessed in recent memory. No one- or two-finger push a button DJ-set or single vocalist backed by dancers while running tracks: This was a band, a tight, cohesive unit who truly were and are distinctive. A modern day Supergroup? Maybe, could be, should be! The Script are the sum of their exceptionally talented parts, proving a proficiency on each of their instruments that creates something uniquely special which they use to maximum efficiency, touching the hearts and minds of their faithful and those far beyond.
The band’s massive hits “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” “Breakeven,” “For The First Time,” “Nothing,” and “Hall Of Fame” are songs that not only get stuck in your head, but get stuck in your soul. As the entire audience was ready to erupt, there really was a party atmosphere in the Aragon Ballroom and a sense something special might happen. Then, house lights down, The Script hit the stage to the recognizable notes of “Good ‘Ol Days” and for a moment the earth shook; a rumble underfoot and extreme hysteria - all this in but a few seconds time. The yelling and the high-pitched screaming were different; yes, definitely different, not heard since the days of the frenzied Duran Duran, Backstreet Boys, *N Sync and the Beatles shows; that inimitable high-pitched constant screaming. Look out, we were in for a wild and crazy time.
And what a ride! The Script played songs seamlessly from their self-titled debut album, The Script, their second album, Science & Faith, and their recently released album, #3. O’Donoghue had an endless supply of energy and continuously moved about the stage, back and forth and from side to side, while always pointing to fans in the audience. He also found time to dance as much as possible while gyrating and twirling in circles. Sheehan seemed to glide along the stage finding himself on the drum riser on few occasions and Power was solid on the drum kit. And, the light show, filled with predominantly blues, purples, reds, greens, bright whites and colored lasers, only added to the overall experience by accentuating certain notes, beats, and phrases, and created an atmosphere of a well-paced performance.
O’Donoghue’s rapport with fans was right on target and received a wonderful well-balanced assist from Sheehan. At one point, just before beginning “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” O’Donoghue thanked the audience for the incredibly warm and loving reception given and remarked he was astonished to see a professional photographer taking his picture from the pit dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi before he realized it was Halloween. “Thanks, that was great!” Yes, O’Donoghue had just called out and complimented my photographer Tyler Curtis of Darkroom Demons here in Chicago for his Halloween attire. Well done, Tyler! Then, the band carried on. O’Donoghue also took a moment to explain that “It’s Saturday night in Chicago and is what we call Day Off Eve – the next day was an off day so it means we can go fucking crazy!” Imagine three fine lads dressed up as rock stars for Halloween and running loose on the streets of Chicago! Wait, they ARE rock stars!
And, one reason why members of The Script are rock stars is the genuine affection and devotion shown the band and its songs by its fans. The Script’s entire show was represented by non-stop obsessive and passionate audience participation in sing-alongs, singing every word of every song all night long and yelling and screaming of a high-pitched nature that also continued throughout the entire show. The young girls were not the only fans screaming and yelling their heads off, but kids, young adults, adults and even the big kids.
Indeed, The Script have shown their brand of pop rock to be hugely popular across all generations. Just looking around the Aragon Ballroom on this night, before The Script took to the stage, an 80-year-old-man, whom I will call Irish as he did not want to give his name because the night was not about him but the music, explained he was attending to support his love of great music. He spent his lifetime at the Abbey in Chicago, an Irish pub noted for their great live music. He remembered supporting all the bands that came though the club. He would not miss The Script, not because they were of Irish heritage but because The Script provided great music. Some of the same sentiments were felt after the show by 8-year-old Zoe from Emden, IL, attending the show with her family and friends. She was dancing and singing to all The Script songs and when asked about the show she was literally speechless! Angela Adams, also from Emden, IL, “Loved it all! I have seen The Script twice now here in Chicago! My favorite song was all of them!” Janet Teegarden, of Peoria, IL, also only in for the show, stated emphatically “The Script was great! I have seen them many times and they are always great!” Denise Wolschlag of Normal, IL, added her insight: “All the songs were great but ‘Nothing’ was a favorite!” And friends Adams and Dunlea were thrilled to have their flag hoisted high on stage by O’Donoghue during the completion of the band’s encore. Dunlea added, “I have seen the band perform many times. The Script are an inspiration and their songs have gotten me through many tough times!”
Notable show highlights included: one of the most powerful moments of the night was brought about by O’Donoghue leading fans in unison vocals on “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.” While everyone in the Aragon Ballroom sang together as one, both Power and Sheehan surveyed the crowd and looked as if they were getting a kick out of what was happening before their eyes. What an immense feeling of satisfaction they must have felt at that singular moment recognizing the effect of their music on those fans in front of them; Sheehan gave a brief explanation of a modern day drunk using Twitter, Facebook and texts, then challenging fans in attendance to an experiment by making a call immediately to someone from their cell phones. O’Donoghue then grabbed a cell phone from a fan in the audience and dialed a number and sang “Nothing” to a surprised person on the other end; fans standing on the main floor became hot and bothered as O’Donoghue started the song “You Won’t Feel A Thing” while actually in the audience; both O’Donoghue and power-playing acoustic guitars and singing “I’m Yours;” and, the massive audience participation sing-along on the last song of the night, “From The First Time.”
Good 'Ol Days
Hall Of Fame
Science & Faith
The Man Who Can't Be Moved
If You Could See Me Now
Before The Worst
Talk You Down
Give The love Around
Six Degrees Of Separation
You Won't Feel A Thing
For The First Time
Opening Act: Tristan Prettyman