The Gaslight Anthem Show Met “Great Expectations” 

Joining the list of ongoing bands to make a comeback this year is The Gaslight Anthem. On Sept. 28, The Gaslight Anthem rocked The Rooftop at Pier 17 with a dreamy view of the New York City skyline welcoming the heartland rock band’s sound.

This was the band’s first time playing in New York City since 2018, when they had played an anniversary set to celebrate their 2008 album, The ‘59 Sound, at the Governors Ball Music Festival.

Formed in 2006, The Gaslight Anthem is a rock band from New Brunswick, New Jersey. The band consists of lead singer and guitarist Brian Fallon, guitarist Alex Rosamilia, bassist Alex Levine, and drummer Benny Horowitz. Upon finishing their 2015 European summer tour, Fallon announced the band’s hiatus, during which band members focused their time and energy into their respective side projects. 

Back in March, The Gaslight Anthem surprised fans by announcing their return to “full-time band status” on social media. They also shared their plans for a fall tour with Jeff Rosenstock and Tigers Jaw on select US dates.

In August, the band began their 12 days of touring in the United Kingdom, continuing through other parts of Europe, and now presently performing in the United States. 

As The Gaslight Anthem fan that I am, I bought tickets as soon as the artist presale was announced in June, unfeigned by the endless number of possibilities that would make attending difficult. Nonetheless, upon carefully weighing my options, I came to the conclusion that seeing my favorite heartland rock band for the first time was worth every ounce of sleep deprivation. Naturally, I showed up to the venue with a sparkly black cowboy hat and tiara, ready to showcase my outfit right at the front of the barrier.

Jeff Rosenstock and his energetic band opened for the event, singing their hits like “Wave Goodnight to Me,” and “9/10.” At one point, Jeff brought out a saxophone while performing his song “Nausea,” and played it as the crowd clapped along to the beat.

Once Rosenstock’s set was over, the stage began to fog up just enough to hide the twinkling city lights. Suddenly, a mix of clapping, cheering, and giggles erupted as The Gaslight Anthem walked out on stage to Fergie’s song “London Bridge.” From there they started their set with “Have Mercy,” in which they included a verse of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.” 

At one point, Fallon reached down to the crowd, taking up a lit poster sign asking the band to play their song “Blue Dahlia.” Fallon admired the lights hung around the poster board and recalled another sign they had recently collected on tour. 

Twenty songs were played that night, including their hits, “The ‘59 Sound,” “45,” “Great Expectations,” and my personal favorite, “Stay Vicious.” They also played two more covers of “Chloe Dancer” by Mother Love Bones and “State of Love and Trust” by Pearl Jam. The band played mostly tracks off their records The ‘59 Sound, Get Hurt, Handwritten, and American Slang, which had songs that were easier for Fallon to perform while still recovering from laryngitis.

It didn’t feel as if the band was ever on hiatus as they put on the show of a lifetime. The crowd was ready more than ever to sing along as Fallon managed to connect with the audience between performing and interjecting his infamous set of rants.

The Gaslight Anthem will perform an anticipated hometown show on Oct. 8 at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ and then at The Met Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA on Oct. 7.