Rain and outdoor arenas don’t bode well for rock shows, but the fans clad in ponchos and rain coats weren’t bothered by it at the sold-out #ParklandStrong Wednesday night.
The concert was planned by hometown pop-punk bank New Found Glory shortly after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, and the entire evening benefited the Broward Education Foundation, the official fundraising group leading a GoFundMe for the victims and survivors of the shooting.
William Ryan Key, the lead singer of Yellowcard, opened the show with an acoustic set. Hailing from Jacksonville, he gave the audience a peek into new songs from his soon-to-be-released EP, “Thirteen,” as well as throwbacks to the early 2000s with classics like “Ocean Avenue.” Before heading backstage, he teased that he’d return for the third set with New Found Glory, who he is currently on tour with.
Although the crowd was getting into a groove and eager for the show to continue, fans had to wait nearly an hour with intermittent drizzling for the next act to take the stage—Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional. But any delays seemed to be washed away as soon as the Boca local went on stage, just him and his guitar. Boca mag interviewed him back in April, when he told us that he was going to base his set list off of the vibe he got from the audience. He began by naming the 17 killed, then a somber song set to a slideshow of the victims’ photos. A graduate from Boca Raton High School and Florida Atlantic University, he praised the student activists that arose from the tragedy.
“I’m proud to be from the same place they are from. I have no doubt they will succeed,” he told the crowd. “They’re doing the work that these old fuckers ought to be doing.”
The rest of his acoustic set, Carrabba bantered with the crowd, cracking jokes and mixing up music from across the last two decades, with new singles “Fight” and “Heart Beat Here” and older hits “Stolen,” “Screaming Infidelities” and “Hands Down.”
Then, the headliners New Found Glory turned up the amps with its full band, but not before speaking to the audience about its ties to South Florida—one attended Taravella High School and two others are graduates of MSD—they’re also high school friends with Carrabba and last played at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater in 1999 during Warped Tour.
Immediately, the crowd was jumping, with the first song “All Down Hill From Here.” Lead singer Jordan Pundik dashed back and forth across the stage before a backdrop of glow-in-the-dark cartoon paintings, urging the audience to put their fists in the air and get out of their seats.
Over the next hour, the band performed favorites like “Don’t Let Her Pull You Down” and “Understatement.” New Found Glory is currently on tour in support of its new album, “Makes Me Sick,” and included some songs off the album, including “Party on Apocalypse.” New or old, the crowd was eager to sing along to every word. Involving the audience, fans were pulled on stage to help pick the next song by spinning a wheel.
True to form, the band’s included punk covers of “Glory of Love” and “Eye of the Tiger” and ended the show with “My Friend’s Over You.”
As the community has been recovering and rising up since February, it was good to have the hometown boys back home.