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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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AJR’s “Maybe Man” (Concert Review)

Emily Loughridge
A wide view of the Paycom Center shows the nearly 8,000 fans who came to listen and watch AJR perform in their “Maybe Man” Tour.

AJR, an indie pop band of brothers, visited OKC for the fourth time and for the band’s 20th show on their first headlining tour. AJR’s “Maybe Man” Tour has sold out several shows along the way, including OKC’s show at the Paycom Center Saturday, May 6. Several of USAO’s recent alumni were in the audience including Caleb Smith, Halli Humphrey, Daniel Buster, and Abbi Buster.

Dean Lewis, an Australian songwriter, opened for AJR at 7 p.m. He sang several of his own songs including “Be Alright” and “7 Minutes.” He also surprised the audience by covering Taylor Swift’s ‘Cruel Summer” and The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris.” I thought it was impressive to have a somewhat bigger name open for AJR, considering two years ago they had BoyWithUke open for them, who gained popularity from TikTok.

It took AJR over half an hour to appear on that stage, which begs the question “How do almost 8,000 Oklahomans entertain themselves?” The answer began with people turning on their phone flashlights to wave hello, spell messages, and (my favorite) a group played Pong. Then, above Caleb and I, a group of people started the wave. It took them a few rounds, but once it got going it lasted 13.5 rounds around the entire stadium, including the pit.

Before talking about AJR’s performance I have to say there are two things I think AJR is known for: 1. their unique sound and use of instruments 2. and their insane use of technology during their performances.

The show began with the lights off, and then a spotlight randomly appeared on stage with the opening notes of “Maybe Man” starting. The spotlight kept jumping around stage to highlight seemingly a dozen Jacks in different positions across the stage – as one was hanging from the rafters, another had a red balloon, and a few had other props.

AJR typically uses a walking treadmill on their set to make it appear like Jack is walking across different sets during the songs, but the show shared how much the band has grown. The band had a huge, curved screen that when it dropped down covered almost two thirds of the stage. The screen was split in half horizontally and could come down to the stage in sections.

A few songs later, AJR explained that they saw a fan’s edit on YouTube of two songs blended together. After a joke about not suing them, the band began singing “I Won’t” which blended into “Birthday Party.” It was an interesting blend and the songs meshed well together; however, I was not a fan of it. I would have rather listened to ‘I Won’t” in its entirety compared to the sliced-up version.

The screen continued to show so many different sets and required such perfect timing from AJR and anyone else on stage, which is insanely cool. Several of the sets were swirling types of colors, while one looked like the inside or a space ship and another showed Jack falling back down to Earth (which felt so real that it made me slightly motion sick).

AJR mentioned between songs that sometimes performing on stage can feel alienating from their fans, which made it no surprise when the band and several other musicians appeared in section 301 in the midst of several elated friends.

They shared that having a sing-along has been a dream of the band’s for a while. The first song was “World’s Smallest Violin” and then moved into “Steve’s Going to London,” which is one of my favorites.

Other favorites included “Yes I’m A Mess,” “Inertia,” Turning Out Pt. iii,” “God is Really Real,” and “Don’t Throw Out My Legos.”

One of my other favorite parts of every AJR concert is when they break down their music producing process. Ryan begins with one instrument and finds its sound and slowly layers more instruments. He always makes it an interesting event as he weaves in personal stories, like how their home videos influenced the song. Then once every slots together, the beat of the song drops and AJR begins to sing it live. The song they choose for Saturday was “Way Less Sad.”

Towards the end of their set, a light fell interrupting a song. The audience shouted, figuring it was a joke played by the band because it was something they’d do. Ryan promised it wasn’t part of the show and made sure everyone was okay. Two janitors came out to clean up the mess, and the audience cheered them on. Finally, the older janitor tore off his fake mask and revealed himself to be Jack. He then launched into “100 Bad Days” as the audience roared in response.

As the concert came to a close, the audience got on its feet and yelled for an encore. They came back on the stage and talked about their dad, who recently passed away. Their experiences with their dad’s illness directly impacted the “Maybe Man” album. Jack said that their dad was always their biggest supporter and encourager – he wanted them to be the biggest possible versions of themselves. Just as he said that Jack disappeared behind the curved screen, and a puppet-like Jack appeared – but it was almost as big as the stage! The emotion and meaning was clear – the band is working to be the biggest (and best) versions of themselves (even through extreme difficulties), and that the audience should do the same.

The meaning behind each song makes AJR such a unique band, and I encourage everyone to listen to a handful of their songs – I guarantee you’ll find at least one lyric that relates to you.

Looking back on the handful of concerts I’ve been to, this AJR concert ranks third. My number one slot goes to the first time seeing AJR, because nothing beats seeing one of your favorite bands for the first time. I loved this concert and many of the lyrics felt like they related to my stage of life right now, which is exactly what music does in my opinion.


Emily Loughridge is a fourth-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Emily Loughridge
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a fourth-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining minors in psychology and liberal arts, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Nov. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022