The Midnight Bathes San Diego in Neon Nostalgia

There was a fluorescent buzz in the air that night, reminiscent of the low hum that blankets the streets of Tokyo’s neon sign-filled city. Except on this occasion it radiated from San Diego’s North Park Observatory where a frenzied excitement was building for the headliner, The Midnight, and their opening act Nightly. I should also add The Midnight is one of my favorite groups, so please forgive my giddy enthusiasm and excessive song references as I relive this nostalgic experience with you.

“To the midnight riders, to the spark igniters, I am on my way. Let it be said, let it be known, he who is free is never alone.” – The Midnight, Explorers

Jonathan Capeci of Nightly, walked on stage as if he’d just stepped out of Kit, and has Knight Rider saved in his Pageboy I. The presence of this group, consisting of Capeci, Joey Beretta, and Nicholas Sainato, was that of a summer Saturday afternoon; carefree dancing thru the streets with your earbuds in. Originally from Nashville, they brought their alt-pop vibes straight into the heart of this sun-kissed surfer’s city. The feel-good energy of their set, from start to end, flowed through the crowd effortlessly, leaving us with a feeling similar to that of reminiscing with a highschool friend about mornings in first period. It’s safe to say Nightly left a lasting impression on their San Diego fan-base.

The voice of The Midnight, Tyler Lyle, emerged from behind the soft glow of the neon stage lights just as the last lines of “Youth” (Kids, 2018) finished playing. “It’s sort of like an adventure, a big adventure. It’s fun!” A nostalgic adventure perfectly sums up their 90 minute performance. Lyle’s soft-spoken demeanor in between sets balanced his powerful vocal performance. A solo DJ set by the other half of the duo, Tim McEwan, lit up the crowd. And the sax – oh, the sax! – on this tour played by Justin Klunk, was something of a spectacle. The live performance of “Vampires” (Endless Summer, 2016) was an experience I never knew I wanted, but now know I needed. The guitar solos from Royce Whittaker and the bad-assery of bassist Lelia Broussard were masterful. But what stood out the most was how much fun the group was having with each other on stage, rarely playing in their separate spaces but rather shoulder to shoulder, instrument to instrument, feeding off each others energy, further igniting the crowd. There’s a special place in my memory for witnessing “Jason” (Endless Summer, 2016). Not just because that’s also my name, but because it was one of their 3 encore songs, and we all know the energy of an encore song. The crowd was a sea of hands, singing every word with Lyle whose hand and mic inched closer to the audience with every verse. The Midnight delivered, and it was a show for the books!

Setlist (setlist.fm)
• Youth (Played from recording)
• Wave
• Lost Boy
• Explorers/Kids (Reprise)
• America Online (Intro)
• Deep Blue
• Prom Night
• Heartbeat
• Brooklyn. Friday. Love.
• Loved By You
• Heroes
• Fire in the Sky (Tim McEwan solo)
• Daytona
• Shadows
• Neon Medusa
• Days of Thunder
• Good in Red
• Vampires
• Los Angeles
*** Encore ***
• A Place of Her Own
• Jason
• Sunset