Plain White T’s, the Chicago based pop-punk band that gave us the ubiquitous hit “Hey There Delilah,” has embarked on an extensive tour entitled “Three Part Harmony: A Show in Three Acts” to support its 2008 album, “Big Bad World.” After piling into Irving Plaza, listening to two openers (Company of Thieves and Days Difference) and eagerly waiting for at least two hours, fans were more than ready to cheer – loudly – when the night’s headliner came onstage Monday night (June 15).
The band wasted no time launching into “Act 1” of its set, starting off with “Big Bad World,” “That Girl” and “Natural Disaster” while surrounded by small white lights that were scattered throughout the stage, evoking an intimate, candlelit setting. (Appropriately, frontman Tom Higgenson and guitarist Dave Tirio were sporting white T-shirts underneath their black leather jackets.)
From beginning to end, concertgoers screamed hysterically whenever Higgenson sang a high note. Many in the crowd beckoned towards the lead singer with their hands, or simply yelled out what was on their minds: “I love you!” “I love you, too,” he replied.
“This is for all the drinkers,” said Higgenson before the band started playing “Friend Don’t Let Friends Dial Drunk,” from Plain White T’s previous album “Every Second Counts.” Although most fans in the crowd were barely eighteen, they appreciated the number as much as any.
“I want to dedicate this to all the New York ladies,” said Higgenson about “Write You a Song,” his brown eyes piercing as he strummed his guitar and sang: “I don't know how to make lots of money / I got debts that I'm trying to pay / I can't buy you nice things, like big diamond rings / But that don't mean much anyway…I will write you a song / That's how you'll know that my love is still strong.”
Plain White T’s briefly left the stage and came out to start Act 2: Acoustic. “I want you to feel like we are hanging out in your living room or bedroom or kitchen,” said Higgenson as the quintet switched to a four-song acoustic set. He played the harmonica while guitar player Mike Retondo played the accordion, and hands waved in the air in appreciation of the band’s current single, “1,2,3,4” recorded with Grammy-nominated producer Johnny K.
Plain White T’s started off “Act 3: Medley of Fan Favorites" with a cover of The Mamas & The Papas song “California Dreamin'." The band followed with the most anticipated number of the night, “Hey There Delilah.” “You know this song right?” Higgenson joked. “This song is about your city right here.” The crowd sang along to every word, allowing Higgenson to drop his vocals several times as eager fans chimed in for him.
The band finished off with “Someday,” the last track on its new album, and some profound parting words from its frontman: “Be safe, have fun and enjoy life.”
Here is Plain White T’s setlist:
Act 1: Rock
“Big Bad World”
“Friends Don’t Let Friends Dial Drunk”
“My Only One”
“Write You a Song”
“Our Time Now”
Act 2: Acoustic
“A Lonely September”
“Take Me Away”
“I Really Want You”
Act 3: Medley of fan favorites
“Hate (I Really Don’t Like You)”
“You and Me”
“Hey There Delilah”