All-American Rejects light up BankUnited Center

The anticipation grew with each song performed by the three opening acts at the BankUnited Center on Nov. 15. Filling half of the floor and almost the entire lower bowl, the thousands of fans erupted each time an opener would tease the night’s headliners – the All-American Rejects.

Though the openers lasted two hours, the crowd could not (and did) complain. Gym Class heroes (indie hip-hop), The Format (indie rock) and The Starting Line (pop punk) all performed enjoyable sets. Some of The Format’s material did not sound as good as on their albums while The Starting Line sounded better live than on their album.

But it was clear that everyone was to see The Rejects, perhaps since having their appetite whetted when the band played at the BankUnited Center last year as an opening act for Fallout Boy.

Led by Tyson Ritter on vocals and bass, the Rejects clearly proved that they are more than capable of holding their own. With catchy, fun songs such as “Dirty Little Secret,” “Swing, Swing” and “The Last Song” (played second to last) they could do no wrong in front of the mostly middle school- to college-aged fans in attendance. To close they chose a song the crowd waited for, and enthusiastically sang along to – “Move Along.”

Besides the music and vocals, which both sounded great, the Rejects also did not neglect to engage their audience. At one point a nude blow-up doll flew from backstage to Ritter, who in turn used it to challenge the audience: they would not continue to play until the doll, named “Sexy Nancy,” came back fully clothed. Ritter said that if the audience popped the doll, the band would walk off the stage. Within minutes though, Nancy came back, with a skirt, shirt and multiple brassieres strewn about her.

Ritter also excited the audience when he and guitarist Nick Wheeler appeared at a small stage towards the back of the floor. The audience swarmed the platform, pulling out their cameras and snapping shots of the two. For the greater part of the show, when the band performed on the main stage, dozens of people went crowd surfing, ending up in the arms of a few event staffers. Ritter told the audience that the venue has “no-crowd surfing” policy, but encouraged them nonetheless.

So whether it was singing, dancing or dressing a doll, Rejects pleased in a fun and memorable concert.

Greg Linch may be contacted at