Skip to content Skip to footer

Live Review: AJR @ CFG Bank Arena — 4/7/24

Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met, better known as AJR, may have released their debut album in 2015, but their musical journey started much earlier than that. The music they created when they were kids became a lifelong obsession. As Jack told the crowd this week at CFG Bank Arena, even in Maryland their popularity has grown from playing to a handful of people at The Fillmore Silver Spring, to packed shows at the Baltimore Soundstage.

And now they are headlining their first arena tour, The Maybe Man Tour, with the Baltimore stop only the fourth arena show so far. For these brothers, it’s a continuing journey onward and upward.

Australian singer-songwriter Dean Lewis opened the show Sunday night with a brilliant, charismatic set. It was clear there were a lot of fans in the massive arena as I caught a glimpse of more than a few signs for Dean in the crowd.

I hadn’t witnessed an AJR show before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I heard that it was “high energy.” That was an understatement. At CFG Bank Arena on April 7, huge curved video screens flickered to life to herald the show. By way of an introduction to The Maybe Man Tour, a booming voice came over the speakers, “If you could snap your fingers and go anywhere, anywhere at all… where would you go?” before the video screens showed the crowded arena filled with fans cheering with hands held high. 

After a sneaky introduction to “Maybe Man,” as several versions of Jack seemed to appear from one end of the stage to the next, smoke and strobe lights radiated out as Adam, Jack, and Ryan jumped up from the raised set. Jack and Ryan both studied film in college, which made sense to me as so much of what was happening on stage felt huge and cinematic.

From the walking visuals of “Yes I’m a Mess” as Jack “walks” suspended above the massive screen which scroll along to Jack being carried off into the stratosphere via video screens and a suspension harness during “Karma,” the performance was a feast for the eyes. 

Watch the official music video for “Yes I’m a Mess” by AJR on YouTube:

And the stage back-and-forth between the brothers had the audience feeling like they were right at home. “This next one was our most Broadway sounding song,” Ryan said introducing AJR’s hit, “Bang!” “After some work it kind of became our darkest song, and when it was finished it became our weirdest song but after all that, for some reason, it became our biggest song.” 

This really was a group that genuinely was here to have fun. From Jack’s gentle ribbing of Ryan, to a surprise appearance from Jack and Arnetta Johnson on trumpet in the balcony seats to play “World’s Smallest Violin” and “Steve’s Going to London” before Jack noticed everyone else was back on the stage and he had to rush back down, it was pure entertainment. 

In addition to Arnetta Johnson on trumpet, the band was rounded out by Chris Berry on drums and Ginny Luke on violin, but I could have sworn they were hiding a much larger band. The sound was huge and the music was infectious, and that feeling was reciprocated in the audience. Some of those in the stands wore outfits, including one youngster who Jack pointed out who was dancing around in pure glee.

Although this was my first experience witnessing AJR it certainly won’t be my last. As I’ve noted AJR are in the midst of their first ever arena tour, making their way through the US with another stop in the DMV when they come back to DC at the Capital One Arena on August 2. It’s one not to miss!

The setlist included:

Maybe Man
Sober Up
Yes I’m a Mess
I Won’t / Birthday Party
The DJ Is Crying for Help
God Is Really Real
The Good Part
Touchy Feely Fool
Turning Out / Turning Out Pt. ii / Turning Out Pt. iii
World’s Smallest Violin
Steve’s Going to London
Burn the House Down
Way Less Sad
Don’t Throw Out My Legos
100 Bad Days


Here are more photos of AJR performing at the CFG Bank Arena on April 7, 2024. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.

And here are photos of Dean Lewis opening for AJR at the CFG Bank Arena on April 7, 2024.