There was a five-minute countdown before Big Time Rush hit the stage last night at Nationwide Arena. Kids wearing T-shirts that proclaimed their love for “BTR” squealed in anticipation, especially as the clock on the video screen hit the last minute. At 10 seconds, screams filled the air, and hand-drawn signs and glow sticks were raised as the lights went out.
There was a dance beat, but the pop singers failed to appear at the start of this, the first stop on their “Big Time Summer Tour.” The video screen showed a man, presumably their manager, in a panic when he couldn’t find the boys in their dressing room. Flash to an SUV with our heroes riding along palm-lined streets. BTR busts into an arena, rushes through a labyrinth of halls and — next thing you know — they are on the Nationwide stage, singing Elevate to the delight and relief of all.
Big Time Rush — Carlos, James, Logan and Kendall — put on a crowd-pleasing 90-minute show that featured good dance beats, good harmony singing and upbeat lyrics about partying, seeing one’s inner beauty and being a devoted boyfriend. This latest in a long series of boy bands pulled out all the stops with multiple costume changes, confetti, beach balls, steam machines and pyrotechnics. They also had a cool multilevel stage that obscured a four-piece live band and featured a trampoline, angled ramps and poles to slide down. The guys bounced on the trampoline at times, even doing a few flips.
The kids also bounced to BTR’s tunes, such as Time of Our Life, The City is Ours, Boyfriend, Music Sounds Better with U, and the current hitWindows Down (which cops some of Blur’s Song 2).
Perhaps as a nod to the generation accompanying the children, BTR also sang The Beatles’ I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Help! The parents and chaperones might also have appreciated that BTR was squeaky-clean and the show ended at precisely 10 p.m.
Cody Simpson, a 15-year-old pop singer from Australia, was the middle act. Simpson was a mix of Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake, with a smooth voice and dance moves to match.
Rachel Crow, a 14-year-old pop singer first seen on The X Factor, opened the show.