Ellen Cantalupo of Middletown and her 8-year-old daughter, Autumn, have been waiting for this weekend for more than four months.
They have had tickets since Easter to see Big Time Rush Saturday night at PNC Bank Arts Center.
The group is called Big Time Rush for a reason. It’s hard to fathom how the four members of the act juggle a hit Nickelodeon series, which was recently renewed for a fourth season, touring and time in the studio.
“Time is something we don’t have a lot of,” vocalist Carlos Pena Jr. said while calling from Camden. “But all that we have is a blessing. It’s great to work and have such great stuff to do in this industry where everyone wants to do what we’re doing. We’re incredibly fortunate.”
“I remember that show very well,” Pena said. “It was one of many we did in which we didn’t have a band behind us or the big production. It was primarily just us and some microphones doing our best. But it’s the way it went. Our label (Columbia) told us that we would have to pay our dues, and we did that last summer. Now we’re on to bigger and better things.”
Big Time Rush now is on a shed tour that is loaded with visual candy to go along with their innocuous dance-pop tunes. Concert promoter Live Nation confirmed on Thursday that Saturday night’s show is sold out.
“We have the pyro (technics) and we have such a show that you have to see to believe,” Pena said. “It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do, and we’re there.”
Cantalupo said she and her daughter saw the group a few years ago at the Delaware State Fair and took part in a meet and greet with them before the show.
“They are the nicest guys in person, and you can tell how much their fans really mean to them,” Cantalupo said. “They are very down-to-Earth and friendly, even after posing for about a hundred pictures.”
Saturday night’s show will be the first time Ellen and Autumn Cantalupo will have “mom and me” time since the birth of Autumn’s sister in July, Ellen said. “All in all, it should be a great night, and we fully expect the guys to put on another amazing show,” Cantalupo said.
Big Time Rush — whose members include actor/vocalists Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow and Logan Henderson — has found a niche among teens, who are drawn to the TV show’s premise: four Minnesota hockey players living in Hollywood. The engaging show, which debuted in 2009, smacks of “The Monkees,” which featured four actor-musicians cracking wise and singing songs while sharing space during the ’60s.
Shelley Moscato of Ocean Township said her 7-year-old daughter, Cassie, is a big fan of the series. “She’s watched it since the first episode, and so have I,” Moscato saud. “It’s actually pretty funny. It reminds me of ‘The Monkees.’ ”
The series’ premise — getting the chance to live with a group of your best friends — must be “every kid’s dream,” Moscato said.
Her daughter counted down the days until tickets for the band’s Holmdel show went on sale months ago, but lawn seats were the best they could do on the day tickets became available to the public, she said. It will be their first time seeing the band live.
The boy band is striking while it can. The group is working on a new album so that it will make three discs in four years.
“Our days might be long — sometimes up to 14 hours — but I love how much fun we have together,” Pena said. “We’re always cracking each other up. We’re having fun no matter what we’re doing.”
“There’s no break for us so we can record, tour and do a television show,” Pena explained. “We’re young. We can handle it.”
Pena believes that the band will break new ground with its next album. “I think this one will be different,” Pena said. “It’ll be a big melting pot, which reflects our four different voices. We’re fortunate to have fans that want to hear us challenging ourselves, and that’s what we’ll do. It’s time to take this to the next level.”
The members of the band can act and sing but can they play hockey?
“Actually we can get it done on the ice,” Pena said. “I skated a lot when I was growing up in Fort Lauderdale. We can play a good game. So, can we play? Yes. Can we beat the New Jersey Devils? No.”