Walking into Cake night two in Kansas City was chaotic for me, I thought I was going to be late so I ran to the point where security probably thought I was charging them. Blaring from the speakers was indistinguishable ’80s Olympic intro music as if to alert the masses of something great coming. Also, it synced up cinematically with my race for the gold to the photo pit.

Cake opened with Willie Nelson‘s “Sad Songs and Waltzes” which served as the third song of the band’s show the previous night at Grinders KC. Frontman John McCrea asked the audience which song should be its third, which set the tone of freely calling out requests for the rest of the night.

The audience participation went well beyond song requests, as McCrea split the crowd into halves and directed us to sing the chorus of “Opera Singer” in two different parts. As the audience conducted its performance, John interacted with us to give notes. The singer-guitarist’s notes weren’t just limited to music, however, as he expressed many other thoughts including his political rage.

After ’70s sitcom music introduced both the setbreak and a calming peace, McCrea utilized the intermission to give away a peach tree. The awarding of trees is a regular occurrence in Cake’s live spectacle, and fans can visit the band’s website to see where each one is planted. To determine the lucky recipient, John asked the audience which U.S. city drinks the most prune juice. Following a plethora of correct attempts—many of which were cities in Arizona for whatever reason, likely the high rate of retirees—McCrea awarded the tree to Christy who shouted out Miami. A music teacher, Christy will plant the tree at her school.

Though John did angrily call out someone for filming the show despite Cake’s cell phone video-free environment, the show went on as Osvaldo Farrés‘ “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” kicked off the second set. In a continuation of the night’s ongoing theme, an audience member shouted out “War Pigs” but John demurred the request, saying Kansas City didn’t deserve one because we “didn’t clap loud enough” and that he doesn’t give second chances. The jokingly petulant frontman must’ve softened during the second set, that or KC redeemed itself, because Cake ultimately threw the Black Sabbath favorite in during the three-song encore between “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” and “The Distance” to close out the show.

Check out a gallery of images from Cake in Kansas City courtesy of photographer Allison Scavo. The band’s tour picks back up on June 20th with a sold-out show in Portsmouth, NH. For a full list of tour dates visit Cake’s website.

Setlist: Cake | Grinders KC | Kansas City, MO | 5/15/24

Set One: Sad Songs and Waltzes (Willie Nelson), Opera Singer, Stickshifts and Safetybelts, Frank Sinatra, Sheep Go to Heaven, Ruby Sees All, Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle, Shadow Stabbing, Sick of You

Tree Giveaway Intermission

Set Two: Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps (Osvaldo Farrés), Long Time, Meanwhile, Rick James…, Satan Is My Motor, It’s Coming Down, Wheels, Never There

Encore: Short Skirt/Long Jacket, War Pigs (Black Sabbath), The Distance