If you still have any doubts about EDM as a musical genre, then go to a Chainsmokers concert. They are currently on their Memories…Do Not Open tour and hit San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center on Monday, May 8th. You would never know it was a school night.
The roar of the crowd signaled that Drew Taggart and Andrew Pall, the duo that make up the Chainsmokers, had hit the stage. Promptly at 9pm, the lasers, lights, and beats began. After the first few minutes, my husband gave me a look that said, “You really like this stuff?” I’ve dragged him to countless concerts and he has never been a fan of electronic dance music, to say the least. I was hoping that the personable demeanor of the headliners would change his opinion – while the two began behind the DJ booth, within 15 minutes they began to open up and show you what they were all about – perhaps even giving away TMI. Clearly not afraid to poke fun at themselves, Drew facetimed with Alex who appeared to be in the bathroom – a comical intro while the stage behind them began to transform into something that resembled more of a traditional concert. As the electric curtains rose, the arena boomed with live music – yes, live people playing real instruments – while Drew got on the mic and sang. Though some may be skeptical, Drew showed off his singing abilities throughout the night on songs like “Paris,” and “Young.” Special guest Emily Warren also came on stage to sing some of the songs that she is featured on their album, like “Don’t Say.” Before giving up the stage to her, Drew commented that he had heard some guy on Twitter mention that all DJs know how to do is press play on a computer. Satirically, he pulled out a small keyboard and let the crowd know that he “brought this thing to prove him wrong.” He went on to press not one, but three buttons. The irony was not lost on the crowd as more than one unexpected musicians proved the musical depth and variety behind all those Chainsmokers songs you hear played repeatedly on the radio. Drummer Matt McGuire came out, drums blazing, clear talent on display. Matt was found by the duo on YouTube, putting his spin on covers of Chainsmokers songs as well as other popular EDM songs. Proving their loyalty to and appreciation of their fans, the night featured a second YouTube sensation. Tony Ann, who covers classical versions of EDM music on his piano, wowed the crowd with his incredible abilities. I highly suggest you check out both artists on YouTube!
If you’re still questioning the talents of the Chainsmokers themselves (the singing didn’t impress you?), then I’m happy to report that Drew also played acoustic guitar as well as jammed on the electric guitar. Need more convincing? They sampled music from all genres. I heard clips of “Teach Me How to Dougie” mashed with “This is All We Know,” Panic! At the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” and Daft Punk’s “Around the World.” If you really know your EDM you even could have caught a few notes of “One More Time.” To give a few minutes to reset the stage, Drew and Alex came out to discuss their “After Party Playlist” which they decided they’d go ahead and play for us now instead of at the after party. Flipping through Alex’s iPod playlist, he sampled some songs like Biggie’s “Hypnotize,” Papa Roach’s “Last Resort,” and ASAP Ferg’s “Shabba,” before landing on “Paris,” one of the most popular songs of the night. Another popular song, of course, was their newest hit “Something Just Like This,” which they collaborated with Coldplay on.
There was every aspect of a better-than-typical EDM concert – streamers, lasers, strobe lights, confetti, bass dropping and lots of “hand in the air!” but we’ve also touched on rock, classical, hip hop, rap, hard rock, alternative metal… what else is there? Oh… country. Did you think they were going pass on that one? Many in the crowd did because as the last song, “Don’t Let Me Down,” played people started to filter out of the stadium. But it wasn’t over yet! The encore song, which is my personal favorite off their new album, was “Last Day Alive” featuring Florida Georgia Line.
I was blown away by the concert… and it seems that my husband was too considering every time I looked over at him, he was smiling. Looks like we now have a believer.