At this point in time, it should be no surprise that Rise Against killed it at Echo Beach on Sunday night. Torontonians had anxiously awaited the return of one of Chicago’s best punk bands for nearly a year now, bringing the energy and passion that you would expect from Rise Against’s dedicated fan-base.
The set kick-started with the “The Great Die-Off”, setting the energetic pace that Rise Against would keep up for the rest of the main set. Though the setlist featured some of Rise Against’s more recent hits like “I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore” and “Help Is on the Way”, early classics such as “Black Masks & Gasoline” and “Dancing for Rain” made this a performance that long-time fans didn’t want to miss out on. One of the most notable songs of the nights was the trilling extended rendition of “Ready to Fall”. The only time both the band and the audience were able to catch a breather was when the frontman, Tim McIlrath, brought his acoustic guitar and had what seemed like all of Echo Beach singing along to Hero of War and Swing Life Away. The whole band brought the concert to a fantastic end with Savior, leaving the crowd literally chanting for more.
Rise Against didn’t just nail song choice, they nailed the performance as well. Every band member brought a phenomenal amount of energy and showmanship out onto the stage, and hit every note and beat of every song perfectly. Both Zach and Tim had a guitar string break mid-song, but they powered through, unphased and seamlessly switched instruments between songs. Between songs, it was refreshing to hear the band talk about previous tours to Toronto, local bands, and relate songs to our winters. This thoughtful crowd interaction is just one of many things that makes Rise Against’s live shows truly special.