The Chainsmokers
The Chainsmokers. Courtesy Image.

The Chainsmokers At The Forum

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I’d go again.

Isn’t that the main criterion? That’s how it used to be, the show was so good that you told all your friends and had to see every tour for not only the songs, but the production that you might not ever see again.

And believe me, this show is about production.

Actually, the show was a triple-header, starting with Lennon Stella, and then Five Seconds Of Summer, both acts the Chainsmokers have worked with.

The Forum Club was a cornucopia of boobs, both fake and real. Even more than when rock was down and dirty. It’s like everybody’s seen the movies, read the literature, and is acting out the fantasy for themselves. And it’s a whole new generation. Richard Griffiths was there, manager of 5S0S, and Rob Light, CAA represents all three acts, other than that it was a whole new crowd, in some cases barely legal. It’s like the old music business had been wiped out and a new one replaced it. And that’s what’s happening.

Now you’re aware the Chainsmokers have inhabited the top of the chart, but are you even paying attention to the chart? Never have so few been infected by the hits, today we can ignore anything.

But there is a scene.

So the Chainsmokers… One guy stands behind the synths, the other prowls the stage and the extended runway, and there’s a real drummer and…

A lot of lights, smoke, flash pots…every trick in the production book was in evidence.


What was not in evidence was charisma. Alex Pall is stuck behind the synths. And Drew Taggart jumps around like Gumby, like a cheerleader, there was no danger in this show, none of the edge of rock and roll, this was a celebration for fans, and they filled the Forum.

In an hour and forty five minutes, they did twenty nine songs. This was not the noodling of the acts at the Fillmore, or the latter-day jam bands, the numbers were short and sweet, at least relatively.

And there were covers. “Under the Bridge”? “Shout”?

And seemingly everybody who worked with the Chainsmokers was in attendance.

Well, not really. But Drew had a sense of humor about it, he said that Coldplay was not in the building, not there to perform their part in “Something Like This,” which has over a billion streams on Spotify.

But Lennon Stella was there for the opening number, “Takeaway.”

And 5SOS came out to do “Who Do You Love,” which was actually superior to any of the performances in their set, they were more energized

But the piece de resistance was the appearance of blink-182.

HUH?


I won’t give you the backstory, but Mark Hoppus came out to jump around with his bass, and Travis Barker pounded the skins and to tell you the truth I cannot fathom the absence of Tom DeLonge, but there was no doubting the energy during “P.S. I Hope You’re Happy.”

And Barker was one of the highlights, even though he was inexplicably facing away from the crowd.

You see earlier in the set the Chainsmokers’ drummer was on a riser in the middle of the arena and he played with…lit sticks, yup his drumsticks were on fire!

Now you’re starting to get the idea. The show was a weird combination of the circus and athleticism. Drew climbed a ladder and rode over the audience on a floating runway. Which angled to the point where you wondered whether he was strapped in.

And this big top ringmaster was surrounded by laser lights.

I’ve got to tell you, not being familiar with all the material, after about ten or fifteen minutes I started to fade out…how long do I have to sit here before it’s over?

But then the shenanigans ramped up to the point where you couldn’t look away.

The motorcycles…were they gas or electric?

And you couldn’t miss the cage, the sphere hanging right in front of the stage. Drew climbed into it, roamed around the iron, it seemed like kind of a waste, until…


Just before the show was over the motorcyclists came back out, all three of them rolled into the sphere and then…

I’ve seen this act before, but in a much bigger sphere. There was barely room for all three riders, one false move…

And then they brought out women and rode around them.

You had to tell yourself they wouldn’t crash, there wouldn’t be an accident, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing this, then again, the Wallendas fell.

And Drew is standing high in the sky, on a tiny platform.

And my eyes are scouring the Forum. I mean what exactly is going on here?

The girls behind me knew every word. Those in the pit were dancing. It was nothing like classic rock, the songs were confection, the only danger was in that sphere, it was a celebration of those in attendance, their lives, they went to relive the good times they’d had listening to this music.

So, the live business survives.

But it’s not like anything you’ve experienced before.

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