If you didn't know Big Time Rush was a boy band, you might swear it was a TV show.
Or maybe it's the other way around. Terribly confusing.
The scene at Rexall Place Thursday night was like one long Nickelodeon afterschool special, an interchangeable mash of those teen dream scream shows starring appallingly good looking young people who play pop stars on TV, which makes them famous enough to be pop stars in real life, where their adventures are eventually turned into a TV show, and so on.
Behold the grand mandala of life!
Given the success of the Big Time Rush, the TV show, it's surprising there weren't more people out for Big Time Rush, the live concert experience.
The count wasn't released but it couldn't have been more than 4,000 "Rushers." They sounded like at least twice that number.
No surprise there, since the main lyrical theme of the evening beyond "partying" -- as long as you're in bed by 10 -- was wondering what might happen if "I was your boyfriend," or "you were my girlfriend," depending.
This is now known as the Bieber Protocol, echoed by not only Kendall, James, Carlos and Logan, but at least two of their opening acts. The screams were deafening.
Musically, it was tasty cotton candy for the soul, a relentless assault of sweet, sweet pop music for the psychic taste buds. You know, you don't want your kids to eat junk food all the time, but the occasional treat is OK, right?
This was trix for kids: good, wholesome fun very much like the TV show with way more music, less comedy banter and a whole lot louder and flashier.
They deployed all the tricks one has come to expect with this sort of thing, from fireworks to rising stools for love ballads to bouncy balls for bouncy tunes to explosions of confetti.
Big Time Rush is part of the lineage of any boy band of yore you'd care to name.
Songs came in two basic flavours: crunchy dance tunes, and pillowy love ballads. Themes ranged from how "I can't live without you," to how "I'll always be there" to how "music sounds better with you," and so on, on top of the Bieber Protocol, of course.
"This song is for you," said one of them at one point, failing to note that all the songs are for you.
For those who don't know, this group consists of the cute one, the cute one, the other cute one and the other other cute one.
The voices were eerily pitch perfect. There was plenty of aerobic dancing, much leaping around the jungle gym set complete with a trampoline, and not a single note was missed.
Were they lip-syncing? Would the kids care if they were? Let's just no go there.
They did a nice Beatles a capella bit to prove they could sing, shortly before murdering Help, so we'll leave it at that.
Opening act Cody Simpson, 15, came off like the Aussie Justin Bieber, and literally had the crowd in the palm of his hand, especially when he controlled the level of screams by raising his arm up and down, from a whisper -punctuated by the odd "I LOVE YOU!!!" -- to the level of 100,000 windows breaking at the same time.
His set was also backed by a live band supported by many pre-recorded backing tracks, and picked from covers like Call Me Maybe and I Feel So Close to You, and tracks from his forthcoming album, Paradise.
TAKE YOUR PICK
Adding to the temporal TV-reality dissonance were music videos of the same song he was singing at the time, so if you got bored of one, you could always watch the other.
Tyler Medeiros has two years on the last kid, and the maturity shows. By 17, he's got the gumption to ask an arena-full -- well, half an arena-full -- of teenage girls who would like to be his girlfriend. Many replied that they would, at the level of 100,000 breaking windows.
What do you mean these guys don't have their own TV shows yet? Join the club, dudes. Hey, maybe they should form a club, and yeah, pick a giant rodent as the mascot. Just throwing ideas around here.