SARATOGA SPRINGS — Their intent? To blow the roof off Saratoga Performing Arts Center, as drummer Ashton Irwin explained.
But did they achieve this goal? For most anyone at Five Seconds of Summer’s concert Wednesday night, the answer would seem to be “yes.”
5SOS, as they are known by fans, and their opening act, Hey Violet, brought with them to Saratoga a big crowd — overwhelmingly teenage and female — and a spirit to match the event.
As Hey Violet began their set, the crowd support was indifferent — not surprising given the amount of criticism the band receives online from fans of the headliner. They upped the tempo of “Blank Space,” a fan favorite by Taylor Swift, and when they performed their own song “Sparks Fly,” support was shown for the band in the form of a cellphone flashlight sea.
After a brief wait in between bands, Five Seconds of Summer set a two-minute timer, illuminating the faces of fans across the SPAC amphitheater. Screams of anticipation filled the venue.
5SOS, an Australian pop punk band, became famous by posting song covers to YouTube, and, later, touring with One Direction. In staying true to their roots, they performed “American Idiot,” a cover from American punk rockers Green Day.
“This one’s for you guys. It’s called ‘Rejects,’ ” the band explained, and halfway through the song, they pulled Mackenzie, a teen from Glens Falls, onto stage to play the guitar of Michael Clifford, guitarist and vocalist for the band.
“They pointed the huge light at my sign and started shaking it and I was so confused,” Mackenzie explained after the concert. “There were huge bodyguards, and they just pushed me, like, pushed me to the stage. They all just made it the best experience you can ever imagine.”
“Wrapped Around Your Finger, a song widely known among 5SOS fans, was played mostly in the dark, the stage lit mainly by the glowing flashlights of adoring fans, many of whom were looking forward to hearing this particular song played live.
Nearing the end of the band’s performance, Clifford took a moment to give a shout out to Tyler and Derek of State Champs, a band based in Albany that had previously joined 5SOS on a leg of their tour and had come to support them in their home territory. Everyone in the audience as well as in the band took a moment to sing “Happy Birthday” to Tyler, as it was his 24th birthday. In performing “She Looks So Perfect,” which is arguably the band’s most famous single, they had multiple synchronized stage jumps, one of the things fans praised most after the show, online and off.
Five Seconds of Summer closed the night off with a cover of The Romantics’ “What I Like About You,” which they had released as part of their “LiveSOS” album. The crowd was disappointed, to say the least, when the concert came to a close. As the lights turned back on, the heavy sound of sighs could be heard, as now many of them had to return to regular lives.
Throughout the night, however, whenever 5SOS asked the fans to jump, they would jump. If they were asked to sing, that was what they did, as a few times 5SOS turned their mics toward the crowd and stopped their singing altogether. So, if the ultimate question was whether Five Seconds of Summer achieved their goal of blowing the roof of SPAC, the answer would overwhelmingly be “yes.”
Isabella Reed is a student at Saratoga Springs High School. She occasionally reviews concerts for The Gazette.