THE USED played their first-ever Finnish show at The Circus in Helsinki on November 21st, 2012. With their recent 2012 album, “Vulnerable,” now on shelves, they were getting a bit further out in the world than they had been so far.
Though THE USED tends to have an audience in the 15-20 age range, a few old timers like myself were present. I had always wanted to see them live back in the day because I consider their first few albums to be the best, but never had the opportunity (probably because Bert McCracken’s criminal record kept him out of Canada).
Despite the existence of three new albums, almost all of the songs were from the earlier days, back when Bert had no respect for his vocal cords and screamed like a banshee until, rumor has it, he was forced to vomit onstage. The set was as solid as I could ever hope for, featuring a lot of fan favorites, such as “I Caught Fire,” “The Bird and the Worm,” “Blue and Yellow,” “The Taste of Ink,” and “Blood on My Hands,” with them ending the show with “Pretty Handsome Awkward” and “Maybe Memories.” The encore featured a nice acoustic rendition of “On My Own,” ending the night with “A Box Full of Sharp Objects.” Needless to say, they barely touched on the newer three albums at all.
It seems like, at some point in time, Bert has learned not to abuse his voice. Even though they were tackling the best songs from the first two albums during the show, Bert wasn’t coming close to sounding like he had on the older albums. He’d take it down an octave, he’d pass the screams onto Jeph Howard (who I can’t say could even touch Bert’s sound), he’d let the crowd take it hand-in-hand with Quinn Allman’s backing vocals, and other such substitutes. While I can’t blame him for taking care of himself, it really isn’t quite the same experience. I wouldn’t say no to Jeph coming to the forefront of the stage from time to time either.
Nevertheless, the live show was a good watch. Dan Whitesides on drums has seemingly endless energy and Bert did save himself to let loose on a few songs. He was a good laugh on stage too, stating that, “I hope to get the chance to have unprotected sex with every one of you,” as well as stating that music has saved his life over and over again before “Pretty Handsome Awkward,” and dedicating “Buried Myself Alive” to the two guys in the front row.
The young crowd was crazy for them, holding up signs with the band’s name on them, while jumping and throwing their hands in the air. All-in-all, it was a good watch in spite of the weaker compensation for the crazy old vocals, and I had no regrets seeing it. I definitely think it was worth at least a one-time watch, even for a fan who is far past the prime age for these shows, such as myself.
01. Take it Away
02. The Bird and the Worm
04. Put Me Out
05. I Come Alive
06. I Caught Fire
07. The Taste of Ink
08. All That I’ve Got
09. Buried Myself Alive
10. Blood on My Hands
11. The Best of Me
12. Pretty Handsome Awkward
13. Maybe Memories
14. On My Own (encore)
15. A Box Full of Sharp Objects (encore)
Written by Bear Wiseman