Flames, fireworks, motor bikes, lasers and suspended metal fixtures — this and more were part of The Chainsmokers’ show at the Bell Centre on Oct. 9. But before all that, Lennon Stella and 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS) performed their sets.
Visually, Stella’s stage production was underwhelming. There was no décor or props of her own. All we got was Stella, her guitarist, and drummer. Unfortunately, she was often overtaken by backing tracks or aggressive, auto-tuned-sounding vocoder harmonies. The crowd was only able to hear Stella’s true voice during an acoustic version of “Like Everybody Else.” This was the highlight of her 30-minute set along with her performance of “La Di Da.”
After an excruciating near-20 minute wait, four-man band 5SOS hit the stage – Luke Hemmings, lead vocals; Calum Hood, bassist; Michael Clifford, lead guitarist; and Ashton Irwin, drums. They started with their 2014 hit-single “She Looks So Perfect,” the perfect tune to kick-start the show, both for nostalgic 5SOS fans and anyone prone to tapping their feet to a catchy beat.
There was a well-balanced assortment of tracks off their newest album Youngblood like “Want You Back” and “Ghost of You,” current singles “Teeth” and “Easier,” and hits from the past like “Amnesia” and “Jet Black Heart.” The 17-song set, which lasted a little over an hour, was enjoyable and it looked like they were having as much fun performing as we were watching.
Each member took the time to say a few words. Like many artists that visit Montreal, they seemed to unashamedly proclaim their affinity for the city. Hemmings jokingly tried his hand at French while Clifford, on behalf of the band, expressed their unique connection with the city and its creatives. While Hood most notably expressed his enthusiasm through the use of several profanities, Irwin’s comments caused quite a stir. He excitedly let fans know how happy they were about playing in Montreal after a five year absence. However, dedicated fans let him know that they had, in fact, visited July 13, 2016.
After ending their set with “Youngblood,” the band walked off stage and there was another nearly 20-minute wait for the duo everyone was waiting for.
With metal structures falling into place over the stage, the DJ duo of The Chainsmokers – Alex Pall and Drew Taggart – along with drummer Matt McGuire, walked on stage holding up a flaming stick each (Olympics style). The crowd went wild when they started their set with insane visuals of smoke, steam bursts, and lasers.
The Chainsmokers performed the next two hours with such intensity and energy that resonated with and through the crowd. Without expectations of how their set would pan out (we mostly went for 5SOS), there was a certain shock value with everything the DJs did on stage.
After “Sick Boy,” which Taggart performed in a metal sphere suspended in the air, 5SOS came back on stage to perform a rigorous rendition of “Who Do You Love” halfway through The Chainsmokers’s 15-song set. Taggart asked the crowd who was ready to dance and picked a young woman out of the crowd. As soon as the bass dropped, she did the floss, kicked up her leg, did a cartwheel and landed in the splits.
Throughout the rest of the show, there were more flames, lasers, steam bursts and a light show happening all at once. By the last song, Taggart was standing at the top of the metal structure on stage, maybe 50 feet up, looking like he was living his best life.
All in all, The Chainsmokers put on an impressive performance. It might have been because we had no idea of what to expect, but it was definitely a show to remember.
Photo by Jesse Di Meo