The We Own the Night tour, featuring Selena Gomez, made its way to the Rosemont theater in the Chicagoland area. With her came Allstar Weekend and Christina Grimmie. You can check out our review after the break.
If I were to tell you that I did not enjoy myself at the Selena Gomez concert then I would be flat out lying and my nose would be perched out so long birds would mistake it for a telephone line. Many people, or should I say music appreciators can give a lot of grief to what I call, “young modern pop” music. And when I mean young, I mean it’s either the singers and performers that are no older than 20, have been featured on Disney, or they have a largely young audience. The We Own The Night Tour was no doubt a young modern pop tour. Even entering the Rosemont Theatre you could hear the high pitched voices of excited 12 year olds and their parents trudging either eagerly or miserably along behind them. The venue was packed with people and bright merchandise, ranging from t-shirts, posters, and a life-size back-drop of Selena, so you can take a picture with your favorite Disney star (if you couldn’t attend the meet and greet.) As I walked down the aisles to our seats we looked up to find a big screen of the performers on the tour singing karaoke to some “Don’t Stop Believing” in costumes and having a goofy old time. It made the fans even hungrier for them to actually appear, giving them just a small bite so you’re pallet is prepared for the main course.
The lights go dark, tons of volume emanating from small girls; the theatre was in mad hype. First to appear is this dark haired teenage girl who I recognized as Christina Grimmie. Alone on stage, her opening song was a Rhianna cover which she not only perfected, but got the fans riled up for more of what she had to offer. She grooved and walked around the stage acknowledging all the people that were in awe of this 17 year old’s voice. Taking a small break she then explained who she was, Christina started a Youtube channel in 2009 doing covers of Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Christina Aguilera and various others and in these 3 years she has acquired over 1 million subscribers and landed an opening spot on the tour. Christina’s third song in her set was an original called, “Liar Liar.” She walked over to the keyboard placed in the middle of the stage, spotlight beaming down on her, and as soon as she started playing we realized this is where she shines. Her voice gave me chills. As a singer I had all these thoughts running through my head, “is she trained?” “how does she hit those notes?” “isn’t she exhausted from all those amazing runs she’s doing??” Her fourth song comes around and it’s a medley of various radio hits starting with Katy Perry’s “E.T.” switching into “Telephone” by Lady Gaga, and ending with her most recognized Youtube cover, “Just a Dream” by Nelly. Again, another amazing display of her voice, this girl can SING. Ending her set was the single off her album called “Advice”, which was not only a crowd jumper but has a great message of not letting life win you over with the bad, but making sure you stay strong with the good. Christina was an awesome opening act, she had charisma, personality, and an amazing voice. And as great as her Youtube videos are, I can even say that they don’t do her enough justice. If you enjoy Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne, or Demi Lovato you’ll be an instant fan of Youtuber “zeldaxlove64.”
I’ll admit it, I was skeptical of the second act. All I knew about them is that they were handsome young guys who played instruments and smiled a lot. Seems pretty standard right? Well, the guys from All Star Weekend are far from standard. They performed like they were being injected with adrenaline constantly. Energy was not lacking whatsoever and they constantly were running around stage letting all the females know why they will always feel like it’s the weekend with these boys. Their opening song was a hit called “A Different Dide of Me”, which was welcomed right away with jumping, high pitched voices, and girls crowding into the middle of the stage to catch a look or two from the Allstars. In the middle of their set they taught the crowd what they called the, “Sloppy Joe” which is a dance move that mixes hip hop palm pounding with a full body beat bounce. They incorporated it into their third song and if the crowd bounced even more the theatre would have launched into space, or at least that’s what I imagined. Throughout their show, you would see subtle mouthed “thank yous” to the crowd, charming smiles, eye contact, and a finger pointing to a lucky someone letting them know “you’re awesome”. That’s when I realized, man I need to take notes from these dudes. “T.G.I.F.” from super star Katy Perry was played by the boys and it was definitely an audience sing-along. In the bridge of the song where the saxophone solo comes in, the guitarist from Allstar Weekend took center stage and ripped it on the guitar, it was impressive and my respect for them rose even higher. The next song was their very new single called “Blame it on September”, which started off with a guitar switch to an acoustic guitar. The song is a ballad of lost love and just as I turned to look into the crowd I saw glowsticks and cell phones being waved in the air. Their final song was the party popper called, “Not Your Birthday.” The heavy beat was infectious, turning the whole venue into a dance hall. The guys ran around, the lead singer Zach ran off stage, was surrounded by a flock of girls, went back up and threw his hat into the audience. If it weren’t crowded enough, the front of the stage was packed with screaming fans hoping to catch at least an eye from one of the band members and Allstar Weekend delivered. One thing that got me hyped was the hip hop breakdown in “Not Your Birthday” because it was deep and heavy. I totally did the “Sloppy Joe” just because I couldn’t help myself. Allstar Weekend ended on a definite high note, literally, I mean the screaming was stressing my ear drums but it was well deserved because the Allstar boys put on a fun, packed, and energized show.
In-between the switch with Allstar and the tour’s namesake Selena, a video went up on the screen. It was the Disney star talking about “Unicef” which is an organization that works on global humanitarian relief for children. They provide health care, clean water, nutrition, education and emergency relief through fundraising. It’s a great cause and I made sure to take note and donate.http://www.unicefusa.com
So the moment that everyone in the theatre was waiting for was finally here. Lights go dim, Selena’s band “The Scene” hits the stage along with two back-up singers in white dresses. Screaming louder than what I’ve heard so far, glow sticks, and visuals of Ms. Gomez as a toddler appear on the screen over-head. She’s singing and acting cute, still as a child, and it slowly transitions to her in front of a mirror, age 19, putting on makeup for a big show. Just then she appears from behind the band on a platform with a sparkling dress starting the crowd off with her song “A Year Without Rain.” All I could think of was, “Whoa, this is weird I watched Wizards of Waverly Place and now you’re like..there. singing. … this is rad.” I’m not gonna lie, I was just as starstruck as any other person in the room, and that’s when I understood what the younger crowd was going through, what I went through at my own first concert. Her third song had a quick costume change where her dancers simply put a tutu around her waist, and brought out some fun props for the song, which included an ice cooler, a large paper windmill, and a beach ball that got tossed in the crowd and ventured all over the room. Selena is an elegant performer, but I don’t mean she’s not rockin’ because she most definitely is especially in her song “Round and Round.” She then took a small break to say how much she appreciated Chicago for being enthusiastic, then told us about someone she met in our city that led to the next song “The Way I Loved You.” This was the sensitive part of her set, reminding the older audience members of past loves and heartache…eherm…not me of course. Selena’s eighth song was groovy and had an Aladdin Arabian Nights theme to it. She came out wearing a genie like costume with a purple theme. The dancers had some really cool choreography with flashlights, which I’ve never seen before. It was unique and The Scene looked like they were having a blast, since they were rockin’ out hard. On the twelfth song we noticed the crew bring out a floor tom onto the center of the stage not knowing at all what it was doing there, I thought, “Oh one of the band is probably gonna have a smackdown on it.” But little did I know that Selena would go back there in the middle of the bridge and have a drum duet with the Scene’s drummer. Before continuing to her next song she stops and thanks the audience then acknowledges the people all the way in the back rows, and gives a big shout-out to her Mom and Britney Spears because her first concert ever was at a Britney concert, and she was sitting all the way in the back row. The music to “Hit Me Baby One More Time” starts to play and suddenly I’m taken back to when I saw the song’s video on MTV for the first time. Selena mashes it up with “Crazy” “Slave” “Oops I did it Again” “Toxic” and “Hold it Against Me.” The mash-up was her most dance heavy song and she did it wonderfully. I always admire a performer when they’re able to still sing while dancing, especially when they have to keep up with other dancers. Then, of course, her two last songs we’re “Naturally”, which was a slow build-up to an epic last-ish song. Selena was jumping, and the Scene were running up and the down the stage. The guitarist had a sick solo along with the bassist coming up front and center to rock out to the whole theatre, which by now was all standing and dancing. They even do a dance-break before the end of the song, in which Selena motions to her guitarist to come to the front and get crazy. After she leaves, I looked at each other and say, “Yep. Here comes the encore” as experienced concert goers always expect. Ms. Gomez and her crew appear again and perform, “Who Says” to finish off the night of music!
Being a part of the crowd this young really reminded me of the true essence of an entertaining live show: to have fun. If you’re not enjoying what you’re watching, then why bother being there in the first place. I enjoyed the high-production value of the tour, but I also appreciated the talent that appeared on stage. They were charismatic, fun, jumpy, ecstatic, full of life, and they wanted to show that to their audience. Christina Grimmie, Allstar Weekend, and Selena Gomez put on a music show that can be appreciated for both the experienced live music goer like me, and someone who’s seeing a show for their first time.
Information about the review…
Tour: We Own The Night Tour feat Selena Gomez
Bands/Artists: Selena Gomez & The Scene, Allstar Weekend and Christina Grimmie
Date: August 13, 2011
Venue: Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont, IL