Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Concert Review: Big Time Rush at Amway Center

There was frenzy in the crowd as a countdown clock ticked down the final 60 seconds to the arrival of Nickelodeon TV boy-band Big Time Rush on Tuesday at Amway Center.

Coincidentally, that’s also the attention-span of the young fans that waved glow-sticks for Big Time Rush members Kendall Schmidt, Carlos Pena, Logan Henderson and James Maslow – in the same way that some of them likely did earlier this summer for One Direction.

And there’s always another pop star around the corner.

The screaming on Tuesday was the same, too: Loud enough to compete with the group’s opener, “Elevate,” even though there were only enough loyalists to require opening half of the upper bowl.

In its opening foray, Big Time Rush channeled a lot of the boy-band arena playbook: a dramatic introduction on the giant video screens, team choreography on a massive three-level stage equipped with fireworks, streamers and a captivating array of lights and visual images.

In the latest highly competitive boy-band renaissance, it’s wise to pull out all the stops. It’s also good to have a hit Nickelodeon series in the back pocket to generate a little extra buzz. Big Time Rush is the boy-band that also plays one on TV, aspiring pop stars in prime-time and real-life.

A lot of that TV production value was incorporated into the group’s 80 minutes on Tuesday, a fast-paced spectacle on a stage with enough personality to rival the human performers. A trampoline at center stage was a fun diversion.
So how does Big Time Rush rate against competitors such as One Direction? Compared with that free-spirited British group, BTR’s stage presence was more contrived, more tightly choreographed even in the moments that were supposed to be spontaneous.

“Thank you for making Orlando our city tonight,” said one of the guys in a scripted introduction to “City Is Ours.” From the back of the arena, it was hard to tell who it was.

In “Halfway There,” the band members went into crowd to add excitement to one of their more formulaic songs. Four young ladies later were invited on stage for an acoustic “Worldwide.”

Musically, the four voices were interchangeable on rowdy songs such as “Time of Our Life.” The mix was better on “If I Ruled the World,” with a slinky R&B groove that put a twist on BTR’s bubblegum approach. Still, the harmonies were noticeably imprecise on ballads such as “Cover Girl.”

There was more pop from opening act Cody Simpson, an Australian singer equipped with tightly choreographed dance moves for “Wish U Were Here,” “So Listen,” “Iyiyi” and others. His 35-minute set was preceded by a messier 20 minutes by Leon Thomas III, of Nickelodeon’s “Victorious.”

Even more than Big Time Rush, he’ll want to be watching that countdown clock, too.

Source: Orlando
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