If there is one thing the ’90s taught us, it’s that nothing goes with pop music quite like synchronized dancing,
matching outfits and hands-free microphones. Big Time Rush powered that point home Thursday night at Darien Lake by busting out all the standard boy-band tricks and more to the wild, uncontrollable delight of its fans.
The cacophony of screams started well before the band even appeared, thanks to a huge clock counting down the seconds before the performance. When the quartet finally graced the stage, the crowd of what must have been most of Western New York’s teenage girl population upped the decibels to an ear-ringing level.
Big Time Rush’s repertoire — a mix of strictly PG-rated ballads, party jams and feel-good love songs — is nothing ground-breaking, but they don’t have to be. Just like the Backstreet Boys and ’N Syncers before them, the BTR boys are performers, not musicians. From the five outfit changes to the coordinated dance moves to the charming smiles, every move was planned and packaged. Unlike some other teen acts, the band members — who are also the stars of Disney’s “Big Time Rush” TV show — keep every move squeaky clean.
The slick act might be a turnoff to some, but every girl in the audience was clearly in heaven. The screams never stopped, no matter how slow the song, and girls from age 7 to 17 jumped, danced and waved their arms along with the songs. The band performed songs from both its albums, as well as including surprisingly good covers of the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Help.” More than 40 years and a whole lot of talent may separate the two acts, but it was interesting to see the parallels in both Big Time Rush’s and the Fab Four’s simple, sweet song lyrics.
Rachel Crow, a 14-year-old who placed fifth on the first season of “The X Factor,” opened the night with a short set that highlighted her powerful, rich voice. She mixed several songs from her recently released EP with a selection of covers, completely owning Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” and Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.”
The crowd really began stirring itself into the frenzy that would greet Big Time Rush with the appearance of Cody Simpson, a 15-year-old crooner from Australia. Sporting a light blue blazer and V-neck tank top, he was every inch the budding heartthrob, asking the audience if he could “get a little more comfortable” as he threw the blazer aside to overjoyed shrieking. His bubbly beach pop proved the perfect warm-up to the teen dream act to follow.