This past Friday, I got to live my best high school life at the PPG Paints Arena. Not only did I get to see The Chainsmokers; I got to see the band that I obsessed over since their YouTube cover days or, as the 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) fandom used to call, “fetus 5SOS”. This was a collaboration of artists that most wouldn’t have imagined even two years ago, but the mix of these artists in one concert actually worked.
I had never listened to Lennon Stella until she collaborated with The Chainsmokers in their track “Takeaway.” I added the song to my monthly favorites playlists on Spotify, but I never got around to checking out her music. After hearing her open the concert, I was starting to question why I hadn’t probed further. I would’ve probably been equally blown away if I had actively listened to her beforehand. Her voice almost matched the recording and filled the room with a power that no studio can ever quite capture.
5SOS exceeded my expectations and succeeded to unleash the high school fangirl I tried to suppress since graduating. They kicked off their act with the track that put them on the map: “She Looks So Perfect.” Although they incorporated another track from their debut title album (“Amnesia” had every longtime fan swooning), their performance demonstrated their growth as a band. Traces of their boy band roots remained, but the boys demonstrated maturity and experimentation in their newer releases. Their tracklist represented their sappy pop-punk origins in their eponymous 5 Seconds of Summer to their emo Sounds Good Feels Good to their modern alternative-inspired Youngblood.
The Chainsmokers came next and were absolutely insane. They went above and beyond with their props and stunts. Of course, they used the fun yet cliché EDM flashy lights and graphics. Drew Taggart, the vocalist and primary songwriter, was bouncing around the stage. His performance matched the concert’s energy and didn’t permit a dull moment. Alex Pall mixed the beats and kept the audience on its toes with unexpected twists on old favorites. Drummer Matt McGuire nailed the set and captivated the audience when he hammered away at the drums with his drumsticks engulfed in flames.
The choice to include the other artists in the tour was pretty expected, given The Chainsmokers’ recent collaborations. However, that didn’t make the other artists’ entrances in the middle of The Chainsmokers’ set any less exciting. In the middle of the show, Taggart got his acoustic guitar and called for his “favorite part” of the show. 5 Seconds of Summer came back on stage to perform “Who Do You Love,” their collaboration. Lennon also came back on the set to perform “Takeaway.”
You would think that EDM would sound the same performed live as it does when it’s played on your phone. However, there’s something different about the two experiences. There’s something about hearing the music blared while dancing without judgment from others (who, chances are, are dancing just as badly as you are). This concert was a splurge, but it’s definitely something I would do all over again.