Being head-over-heels in love with a boy band is a teenage rite of passage.
You could say the Big Time Rush concert at Rexall Place Thursday night was just one of many childhood sacraments. Those not targeted by the Big Time Rush cupid arrow — directed squarely at the lucrative demographic of young adolescent girls — may not understand all the hullabaloo, but it was clear the spectacle brought a degree of excitement even the most industrial pair of earplugs couldn’t stifle.
Squeals, screams and tears were the scene offstage. Onstage, Big Time Rush’s sugary pop tunes were thin and unvaried. The guys shellacked their hair and dressed themselves up in cheesy bad-boy costumes. And they stared deep into the audience’s tear-brimmed eyes each time they cooed “girl” in their songs.
For those at the show not ogling the four 20-something-year-old singers (read: parents and this Journal reviewer), we shudder to think of ourselves in the same lovestruck state of mind in our younger years. The boy-band-loving stage of our musical appreciation evolution is one we’d all rather forget (hello, Ricky Martin!). Or at least have skipped all together. But in hindsight, I guess it’s a stage that gives us a basis for growth. It’s that first foray into a world of love, heartsickness, and all those tingly emotions that make your heart feel like bursting from beneath your lace training bra.
Regardless of talent, music or stage gimmicks, boy-band concerts like Big Time Rush stand as memorable coming-of-age moments that every girl cherishes.
The little ladies in Rexall’s sparse crowd marked the occasion with their favourite pair of jeans (you know, the ones they can’t wear to the playground for fear of grass stains) and their pretty glitter shoes usually reserved for Easter or Christmas.
Big Time Rush opened with Elevate, and like clockwork, the neon posters were shoved into the air. The group showed off their synchronized footwork and hip gyrations as they harmonized their way across a multi-level stage of steel beams. Screens flashed lyrics, disco balls and various colourful doodles. Streamers fluttered down from the ceiling.
“It’s my pleasure to welcome each and every one of you to the Big Time Summer Tour,” Pena said. The four lads, dressed in various outfits consisting of black denim pants, leather jackets and hoodies, introduced themselves. The audience screamed their love for their favourite Rush member.
The show heavily relied on multicoloured lights and choreography to fill the Rexall stage. The banter was tepid and tedious at times. And the music was, well, uninteresting. But Big Time Rush knew how to work a crowd and make every miniature human being feel incredibly special, and that’s what counted.
At one point, they ran along the side of the boards to touch hands and dish out smiles to everyone they could. They brought fans onstage for Worldwide and sang to them. Hearts everywhere melted.
While teens weave and wobble through adolescence, plastering posters of boys with side-swept hair on our walls, it seems as though boy bands like Big Time Rush too must take life as it comes. Sure, it might mean functioning as a hinge on a musical machine, cranking out singles in exchange for dollar signs, but artists learn and grow, too. Big Time Rush is just another mandatory rung the quartet must climb.
Earlier in the evening, Canadian openers Victoria Duffield and Tyler Medeiros warmed up the crowd’s vocal cords. The 17-year-old Duffield in particular put on a fun 15-minute show featuring a few of her radio hits like Shut Up And Dance.
Cody Simpson, the heartthrob from Down Under, also fulfilled a few dreams. Even though he was feeling under the weather, that didn’t stop him from giving the audience a show.
“It’s kind of hot up here under these lights and this jacket,” he smiled. “I was just wondering if I could get a bit more comfortable?”
The jacket came off. Of course, he was still wearing a tank top underneath, but that was enough.
Judging by the screams, it appeared that boys were no longer icky to the girls in the crowd.