If you’ve been around a radio or television in the past few years surely you’ve heard The All American Rejects. The quintessential pop rock group broke on the scene a mere seven years ago, with their smash hit “Swing, Swing.” Currently the group is hard at work trying to shed that image. Their newest effort “When the World Comes Down,” spawned the new hit “Gives You Hell,” which brings a harder sound than previous singles. The group stopped off in Sacramento at radio station The End’s yearly summer bash.
Flo Rida emerged on stage and didn’t waste much time. The hit maker launched into “In The Ayer,” and “Right Round,” quickly followed. Flo Rida does have a knack of getting the audience on it’s feet but he doesn’t offer much more than that. Everyone of the rappers hits begun to blend together, it didn’t much matter though as the general admission area was dancing along with him. He made sure there were no lulls in the set and kept the bass pounding and the audience happy. Flo left the stage to ear splitting screams, and made sure to toss all access passes to a few girls who had fought their way to the front as he exited.
After a dramatic video introduction Lady Gaga hit the stage behind a pair of sunglasses, flanked by four dancers. Although the pop star only has released one album to date, she made sure to mix up the set list well and make good use of the limited number of recognizable songs she has to work with. “Poker Face, ” and “Just Dance,” were put near the end of the set, at which point the audience began taking over the vocals.
Gaga’s live show is what you would expect. Costume changes, dance routines and catchy music dominated the stage. Some genuine talent did shine through though. When Gaga’s transparent bubble filled piano rolled onto the stage, the first thought is, here’s yet another gimmick to the get the teen audience revved up. But, when Gaga actually begins playing the piano it becomes evident that masked behind all the glitz and empty lyrics, this diva may have more to offer in the near future. The fascination of Lady Gaga, and exactly what is behind those now famous bangs will eventually wear off, and when it does concert goers may be in for a surprising mix of talent and, hopefully, more meaningful music.
The sun hadn’t even set when head liners The All American Rejects walked on stage. Call lead singer Tyson Ritter what you will, a pop star, a rock star, charismatic or just downright annoying. Whatever the case may be he can sing and command the spotlight like few other entertainers can. Careful to stress that this was a new version of AAR, he did his best to convince the audience that they’re “…past the Swing, Swing days.” Performances of “Dirty Little Secret,” and “It Ends Tonight,” were both strong and purposefully loud. The amps were turned up a few notches with the end of every song. Although AAR may be trying too hard to erase the pop image, which has worked pretty well for them thus far, they are entertaining. Ritter, donning a white collared shirt, stained white jeans and a pair of sparkly purple Converse, played to the girls near the front of the stage. Whether it was dancing, or tossing picks and water bottles into the crowd, Ritter never stopped moving.
The set ended with the current single “Gives You Hell.” AAR had given the fans what they wanted. A mix of old and new songs, it hadn’t quite culminated in what Ritter may have been hoping for. AAR is certainly a polished, heavily produced band, their songs always ready for radio play. But There’s no shame in selling out, especially when the live show draws ten thousand screaming fans, fans that stood for five long hours in temperatures creeping over the century mark, just to hear those pop hits, “Swing, Swing” got the biggest ovation of the night. The show was loud, fun and everything a rock show should be, no matter what category the music falls under in the iTunes data base.
Concert Review By: Tyler Sobie