Whether you go to a concert every week or once in a while, you know the feeling we’re talking about. The lights go down, fans start screaming, maybe even crying. Our staff took a few minutes to reflect on our favorite shows and what makes them special.
Read more below!
Coldplay – Head Full of Dreams Tour 2017
Most people really aren’t into arena shows. Maybe it’s because you’re not pressed up against someone you don’t know, maybe it’s because you’re a little farther away because you had to grocery shop that week. But every year for the past few years, all I’ve looked forward to is Coldplay’s tour. When you first step in, you’re handed a Xylo band, a small wristband that lights up according to the song they’re playing. Tens of thousands of people wear the bracelets, so in all, it almost makes it seem like you’re in the middle of the scars. I laugh, I cry, I sing, I admit to liking the one Chainsmokers/Coldplay collaboration for 3 minutes and it’s just one of my best memories.
State Champs – Spring 2017 Tour
This tour was announced and immediately, I knew I would spend all my time and money on it. The line-up was absolutely of an insane caliber. It was the first time Don Broco had made it out to the states. It was With Confidence’s first actual tour in the states (other than Warped Tour). Against the Current gave it their all and State Champs blew everyone away with their set every night. The best part was it began in my own city. There truly was not a moment for anyone to calm down because the energy on this tour was incredible. I am pretty sure each member of the audience walked away with a new favorite song or band each night and it definitely helped each band show the States what they are made of. Not to mention, Don Broco dropped a big ol’ banger called “Pretty” towards the end of the tour which made me go to a sixth and final date. I’ll always have a fond memory of these shows.
The 1975 – Spring 2016 Tour
More often than not, you can find me embodying the soft indie girl aesthetic in the back of a coffee shop listening to “some music you probably haven’t heard yet”. And that mood just about peaked in the fall of my freshman year of college and The 1975’s debut self-titled album hit the scene. At the risk of sounding “fake deep” I’m going to go on a limb and say that The 1975 are the band that’s been the most influential to my college experience. So it’s only fitting to say that their 2016 tour was one of the best nights of my life. Not only was it a huge emotionally fulfilling experience, but it was, at its core, a technical masterpiece. The theatrics of the lighting design built suspense the entire time, even when the band was on stage at full blast. I wanted to get up on stage at the end of the night and live inside the LED pillars. They closed out with an encore of Sex and everything I had ever felt in my 21 years leading up to that moment didn’t matter. Matt Healy drank a bottle of red wine on stage in between his mellow preachings of love and acceptance and everyone felt whole. In those moments, switching between the old and the new, there was a feeling of belonging. I left sweaty and crying and happier than I had ever been. To this day I don’t think I can pinpoint how, but The 1975 DID! THAT!
Bleachers – Spring 2015 Tour
I’ve been a huge fan of Bleachers from day one, and I remember when they announced one of their first headlining tours after the release of their first album Strange Desire, I knew I had to go. I remember showing up to the venue the night of the show and by the time the opening acts had finished, I was literally shaking with excitement. Bleachers came on stage, and their live show was like nothing I had seen. The energy Jack Antonoff & co. gave on stage was so infectious. It was one of those shows where you could just look around and see that everyone had just forgotten about the weight of their lives and were just having the best time singing the words to their favorite songs. Bleachers’ music gives off this everlasting feeling of nostalgia, and their shows are the perfect representation of that. The love and energy in the room that night was so pure. It was one of those shows that really reminded you of the power of music and how special it can be.
All Time Low – So Wrong, It’s Right 10th Anniversary Shows 2017
They did what the people wanted. All Time Low played three So Wrong, It’s Right shows for its 10th anniversary on December 19, 20, and 21 of 2017. Getting punched in the neck in a sweaty pit threw me back into 7th grade—when I started my day by throwing a studded belt around my checkered pants while blasting “Dear Maria, Count Me In” for the fifth time in a row. It’s hard to describe the feeling of watching and listening to the songs you grew up with in a crowd of those who feel just the same, but for me, it’s euphoria mixed with nostalgia. I’ve seen All Time Low countless times, as they are one of my favorite bands, but this time felt different (and a better different, at that). I was surrounded by friends I met though this band—friends who traveled across state lines to attend these shows. Hearing “Let It Roll” felt like coming home. Having my ears ache for three days felt surprisingly comfortable. Seeing the dudes on stage turned my vision into a highlight reel of all the things I’ve grown into and all the things I’ve learned in the 10+ years of following this band. I will always remember the way I felt last December and how that connection to everyone around me is why I pursue music.
The 1975 – Spring 2017 Tour
Three years after seeing the band perform live in 2014, I was more than ready to see The 1975 perform their second album on their 2017 tour of North America. When I first saw them live, The 1975 had just released their debut self-titled album, and the venue was significantly smaller. This time, I got to attend their night at Madison Square Garden, and the atmosphere was totally different. Not only was the venue massively bigger, but the aesthetics of the lights and digital screens had evolved from their original classic black and white to all different colors of the rainbow. Matty and his co-members gave off an infectious energy that had everyone on their feet, and their setlist was basically perfection, combining new album tracks with all of the older favorites. It’s been so great to see the band’s progression and growth over the past few years, and I can’t wait to hear “Music for Cars” and see them live again.
Walk the Moon – Press Restart Tour 2018
After not doing a show in Portland since 2015, and personally never seeing the band live before, Walk the Moon brought their Press Restart Tour (and sold out back to back nights) to Portland, Oregon. Being one of my favorite bands, and never seeing them live, I took advantage of the two night opportunity. I bought tickets for the first and was extremely lucky enough to photograph the second night. The guys more than lived up to every expectation I had. Both nights had me experiencing an entire spectrum of emotions. Even in the photo pit, the band had me smiling, singing, and dancing behind my camera. Nick Petricca and Kevin Ray had me in tears for a stripped version of “Aquaman”, and though a studio version now exists for the song – there’s nothing like hearing “Tiger Teeth” live. I’m not sure if I can forgive them for removing “I Can Lift A Car” from the setlist, but with now three albums out the band delivers a packed show featuring as many of their fans beloved songs as possible. Walk the Moon is a band and show that I will be sure to never miss again.
Panic! At the Disco – Death of a Bachelor Tour
Panic! at the Disco is a special band to me. It’s the band where I met my best friend, and since then, I’ve formed so many amazing memories with the band. While I’m sad they don’t play as many songs from A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out and Pretty. Odd. anymore, they are still one of the best live shows out there. Whether you’re a new, young fan, or a mom attending the concert with your child, or somewhere in between, you can’t help to sing along and enjoy the show Brendon Urie puts on. Perhaps the best moment was “This is Gospel,” which just so happens to be my favorite song from Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die. There’s something so amazing hearing Brendon’s vocals accompanied by just a piano, with everyone’s phone lights shining around an entire venue. Brendon is truly such a talented musician, and this tour really showcases that.
Kaleo – Express Tour
I first saw Kaleo perform in a 1,700 cap venue back in 2016, then, on the Express Tour, they were playing bigger venues. I got see them perform in a 2,750 capacity venue. Both nights SOLD out. This tour really showed how much Kaleo’s fan base had grown. It also showed how much they have grown when it comes to putting on live shows. A whole new production, lights, and set. Seeing Kaleo perform at ACL Live was a night to remember for sure. This also so such a iconic venue so it was a big deal for them too.
Harry Styles- Harry Styles Live on Tour
There is something special about seeing an artist who was in a band transform into a completely different solo artist. The stage presence changes, the mood in the venue is different and it is magical. Seeing Harry Styles at The Chicago Theatre was something indescribable but in the best way possible. The acoustics in the theatre really captured Harry’s vocals in the most unique way. Being in a sold out crowd and screaming the lyrics with a room full of people who are just like you is mesmerizing and watching Harry smile in awe at the audience was something I will never forget. The entire production from start to finish was breathtaking. There was so much love in that room and so much happiness it was truly something I believe every music fan should experience once in their life. Harry is truly a rockstar.
Billie Eilish – don’t smile at me tour
Can I be honest with you? I didn’t start going to concerts until mid-October 2017. That’s when I decided to try music photography, secured my first media pass, and headed off to a small venue in Seattle. I was enthralled the moment Billie Eilish stepped out on stage. She’s mesmerizing. There’s no other way to describe her as an artist. She floats around the stage, engaging with everybody. The show was completely sold out with a line wrapped around the building. Kids had been waiting outside since 3 PM. This was the show that made me fall in love with live music, and capturing the performances.
Taylor Swift – 1989 World Tour
Way back when in 2015, before the old Taylor was dead, we were whisked away in a dreamy version of New York and independence. It was a brand new era of the Taylor we knew and loved and it was exciting!
The live show managed to not match, but exceed that excitement. From the production, the choreography, the music and just about every other detail, it was evident that everything had been thoroughly thought out. I loved the music of course, but I really think it was the lighting that made the show one of the best I had ever been too. Each attendee was given a bracelet that would light up at certain times of the show making the entire stadium an amazing view. Seeing that really blew me away on top of all the already-amazing things they had done like building a B-stage that had her on a crane that put her high in the air where she managed to play both piano and guitar and captivate the crowd as she soared above them.
It was truly one of the shows that made you forget where you were and everything else around. A night I’ll never forget!
Lady Gaga – Born This Way Ball
I was a sophomore in high school when I got tickets to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball tour for Christmas. Admittedly, I was a little confused. While I enjoyed Lady Gaga’s music, I never declared myself a fan of hers, or had expressed any interest in going to her concert, but I was interested nonetheless. Honestly, I had never thought going to a concert would be something I would enjoy, as I wasn’t much for dancing at the time, and had always pictured concerts as something where everyone was either dancing, or trying their hardest to look like they weren’t extremely uncomfortable. I was worried about being the later.
After school, my dad drove me, my sister, and our two friends to Portland, which was about two hours away. We listened to the very limited collection of Lady Gaga songs on my iPod (which was admittedly only her singles), and got ourselves excited for the show. Once inside the arena, we were greeted with an enormous medieval looking castle, which looked more like something out of an amusement park than a concert prop. After not too long, the lights dimmed, the crowd screamed, and Lady Gaga rode onto the stage on a large mechanical horse. From that moment on, I was enthralled with every move she made, every note she sang, and every word she spoke. She commanded the stage in a way I couldn’t have possibly imagined, as she made it impossible to look away from her enigmatic presence.
She was just as weird and artistic as I could have hoped, but the thing I was most impressed with was how human she was. Her otherworldly talents as a vocalist and instrumentalist blew me away, as did her ability to connect with and inspire her audience. Leaving the show, not only did I become a full-fledged Lady Gaga super fan, I changed as a person as well, as that night I fell in love with music and concerts in a way I never thought possible. Needless to say, best first concert ever!
Kanye West – The Life of Pablo Tour
Anyone who has paid attention to pop culture knows that Kanye West tends to stir things up, cause controversy, and do things a bit differently in the music industry. His most recent tour was no different. This tour was truly the most incredible feat of artistry I have ever witnessed. First off, he re-imagined a normal stage and performed on a moving platform hung above the crowd. Hanging above a general admission floor, the stage moved back and forth, tilted up and down, and was outfitted with walls of lights that also moved around. In arenas, sometimes the upper levels are the worst seats in the house. Every seat at this show was a great seat as Kanye’s stage soared throughout the arena. Because of this stage setup, it was a one man show. With a live band backing him from the side, he performed a 2 hour set of hit after hits completely by himself on a stage. Seeing Kanye on this tour was truly unparalleled.