Five for Fighting and The Verve Pipe “live in the round” at The South Shore Music Circus

Live Review

Five for Fighting. Photo by Mike McKenney.

By Mike McKenney, Rock At Night New England

Live Review: Five For Fighting with  Special Guest: The Verve Pipe-South Shore Music Circus-Cohasset, Massachusetts -Sunday July 31, 2022

After a long hiatus, two of the 90’s and 00’s hitmakers, Five For Fighting and The Verve Pipe, have returned to touring again.

After almost 10 years, John Ondrasik, of Five for Fighting is once again on the road with his rock band, saying “You kind of realize what you miss and you think about good times and the people”

The name “Five For Fighting” is a hockey reference to a 5 minute penalty for fighting.

At the South Shore Music Circus, the unusual theatre-in-the-round format provided an intimate setting for these two great bands to reconnect with the fans that have waiting so long for them to return.

Brian Vander Ark. The Verve Pipe. Photo by Mike McKenney.

The Verve Pipe got things started off right with a too quick set that included “No One’s Gonna Break This Heart (Again)“, “Photograph”, and “Hero”.

Lead singer/songwriter and founder Brian Vander Ark has a rich tonal quality throughout his range that compliments perfectly to back up vocalist Channing Lee. While Lee handles her role as back up with subtle restraint, she nearly blew the roof off the tent with a powerful sampling of Alanis Morissette’s, “You Outta Know” during intros.

The Verve Pipe continued their set with “Villains”, “Happiness Is”, and their number one mega hit, “The Freshman”. With an exciting, raw version of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”, The Verve Pipe closed to a standing ovation.

After a short intermission, Five For Fighting (aka John Ondrasik) took to the stage with his rock band.

Five For Fighting’s big breakthrough came with the Grammy-nominated song “Superman”. The song became an anthem after the September 11 attacks and Ondrasik’s performance of the song at The Concert for New York City on October 20, 2001.

Alternating between keyboards and guitar, Ondrasik seemed very comfortable back on the stage playing fan faves “Chances”, “Easy Tonight” and “The Riddle”.

John Ondrasik. Five for Fighting. Photo by Mike McKenney.

With Five For Fighting you get more than a great concert, you also get a look into what Ondrasik thinks as he spoke passionately and intelligently about some of American recent foreign policy decisions, treatment of U.S. Soldiers , and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ondrasik explained that it was an honor of a lifetime to perform his new Ukraine tribute song “Can One Man Save the World”, with the Ukrainian Orchestra.

Through the use of technology, Five For Fighting was able to play it live in concert overlaid with a recorded version of the Ukrainian Orchestra, that really gave the audience a heartfelt experience for the song.

The crowd stayed up on their feet for “100 years” and “Superman”, two of the biggest hits of the early 00’s and by far the fan favorites of the night.

John Ondrasik led the audience participation through a fun cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to close out the night.

The Five For Fighting with Special Guests The Verve Pipe tour continues through August. This is a no-brainer, get a ticket while you can to see these two great bands!



Five For Fighting partial setlist:
Bella’s Birthday Cake


Easy Tonight

’65 Mustang

The Riddle

Two Lights

What If

NYC Weather Report

I Just Love You

100 Years

Can One Man Save The World

Superman (It’s Not Easy) :


Bohemian Rhapsody
(Queen cover)

The Verve Pipe partial setlist:

I Want All of You


Cup of Tea


Never Let You Down




The Freshmen

Happiness Is

The Chain
(Fleetwood Mac cover)

Mike McKenney