Bluff Park (OC Parks Summer Concert Series)
When Andrew McMahon was presented with the opportunity to play a hometown show, he considered it fate and a no-brainer.
The Emmy-nominated Dana Point singer-songwriter performed a free concert at Bluff Park at Salt Creek Beach on Aug. 17 to over four thousand fans as part of the 2017 OC Parks Summer Concert Series.
The beach, he said, played a special role in his high school days at Dana Hills High School, where he first launched his career with Something Corporate.
"This is the beach I used to go to when I would ditch school," he said, smiling, before playing a riveting hour-long set that included songs from his bands Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate.
And, of course, McMahon, who's become a staple in rock festival lineups and an opener for artists like Billy Joel, brought a party to his hometown in a concert that overlooked the Pacific Ocean coastline as the sun was setting.
Throughout the set, which opened with "Fire Escape," the 34-year-old McMahon interacted with the crowd, which consisted of fans of all ages.
Seemingly because the concert was free or because it was at a park, dozens of children danced with their families to songs like "I Woke Up in a Car" and "Dark Blue." But a few kids in the front of the crowd could also be heard singing along with the tunes.
McMahon took notice and asked his roadies to hand the youngsters earplugs.
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The entertainment accompanying the 16-song set, which was mostly comprised of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness songs, was also enthralling for everyone in the audience. As McMahon sang and played his piano, inflatable tube characters and beach balls were dispersed in the crowd. McMahon also crowdsurfed on a giant inflatable duck, a move which has become notable in his shows as of late.
And toward the end of the set, during "Synesthesia," McMahon carried on his tradition of opening a rainbow-colored parachute in the crowd, which he would then crawl under with his fans.
He continually noted the significance of the evening and how unique the setting was.
"This is some surreal beauty out here tonight," he noted as the sun was setting into the ocean. "It's great to be home."