By Raynee Novak
They wore painted-on pants and leather jackets—Boys Like Girls were in the house, ready to tear down the Commodore.
The night got off to a rough start with technical difficulties around lead guitarist Paul DiGivonni’s pedal board. But the band brought it by opening their set with “Love Drunk”, the title track of their second album.
When the opening notes to “Five Minutes to Midnight” off their 2006 self-titled album broke out, the audience started the classic Commodore jump and sang their hearts out. The sound swelled; you couldn’t tell if the rumble in the floor was from people bouncing up and down or the sound system.
Lead singer Martin Johnson and bass guitar player Morgan Dorr took turns with DiGIvonni, taking centre stage by hopping on little platforms that had them all reaching for the sky with their instruments.
Johnson spoke to the audience on several occasions, including giving the Vancouver crowd the 101 on how Boston fans respond to “Sweet Caroline” by the great Neil Diamond. He said that Boston knew how to do the call-backs and had everyone demonstrate that they too could cut it.
When it came to performing “Thunder”, one of the hits from their self-titled album, Johnson took to his acoustic guitar. After the opening chorus, the band made their way to mid stage, making the crowd thunder their feet on the ground. Part way through the song, it morphed into “Stuck in the Middle”, eventually returning to “Thunder”.
The band covered Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” for a few lines before changing the song to “Broken Man”. All of a sudden, the chorus changed and the audience got a bit of Dashboard Confessional’s “Vindicated” thrown in the mix, too.
Johnson made reference to the way he was swaying his hips as being reminiscent of George Michael, and soon the band was playing “Faith.”
The band also played a new song, “The Outside”; singers from opening bands State Champs and The Summer Set joined everyone onstage.
Finally, Johnson spoke to the crowd one last time. He asked everyone to get their phones out and point them at the stage to record the next song. Once everyone was posed with phones in hand, the band busted out “The Great Escape”: the song most people came to hear. The crowd was shocked and confused when the band stopped after only one verse and chorus. Johnson asked the crowd if they had gotten enough for their Instagram Stories or to make their TikToks, saying that they were taking us back to 2006, when “The Great Escape” came out—and prior to all the social media sharing of live concerts. Boys Like Girls delivered by starting the song over again, this time with the crowd sans phones. The song went into a mashup of several of their early hits before finally ending the show with a triumphant flourish.