My mother used to have an expression to describe teenagers who listen to pop music: teenyboppers. I never quite fully understood the term.
Last night at MTS Centre it clicked in. I was surrounded by 4,000 teenyboppers at The 1975 (…the The 1975 concert…hmmmm) concert. The audience of (mostly female) teenagers were dancing, jumping and bopping to the pop music.
Singer Matthew Healy isn’t a teen, but he’s a bopper, when he wasn’t playing guitar or keyboards he was bopping around the stage quite a bit. The fans were loving it and so was he. Early on in the concert he proclaimed, “Welcome to the show. This is good. Like it here.”
As I waited in front of the stage to take photos for the first three songs, I could see the excitement in the faces on the other side of the barrier in the front few rows. I asked one girl if she was excited to see the band. She told me that as soon as she walked into MTS Centre she started crying because she was so happy to be here.
Throughout the evening most of the fans were on their feet loving every minute. They were singing along and swaying to the music. At times it looked like a swarm of fireflies invaded the building as they waved their lighted cellphones in the air.
The light show was interesting. The usual video screens with the bands images were absent, but the visuals they provided were quite interesting. Scenes of buildings were projected onto the back of the stage and onto four rectangular pillars on the stage.
Images of downtown buildings, waves and ripples and a city scape at night also looked very cool. Other times bright neon pinks, blues, purples and whites illuminated the musicians on stage. They got a little psychedelic at times.
The pop band turned into techno rockers occasionally when they put down their guitars and basses and played three keyboards along with the solid drum kit beats.
The English singer’s between song banter included him talking about the band playing for a lot of American audiences and encouraging them not to screw things up democratically.
Apparently these guys are saviours to some. One girl yelled out, “You saved my life,” after they sang a song about “loving people.”
The audience seemed to know most of the words to most of the songs and sang along.
I had flashbacks of seeing the DiFranco in their bell bottom jeans when I was eight years old with my older sister in the ’70’s. “Heartbeat…it’s a love beat and a love beat…is a good sensation… Listen to my heartbeat (boom boooom boom).” Good clean fun.
As the houselights went up, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” played through the speakers. The still hyped up audience sang right along as they filed out of the venue.
As I watched the massive lineups at the merch table I talked with security who told me that seeing how the audience was mostly under 18 they didn’t have to deal with many drunk people during the evening.
Opening act 070 Shake consisted of a female hip hopper and a male DJ providing the beats to her rapping. They got the audience moving a bit but it was pretty obvious that they were there for The 1975…and they WERE excited.
All photos by Doug Kretchmer