5SOS and The Chainsmokers join forces at Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 20 (Photo by Emery Little)
5SOS and The Chainsmokers join forces at Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 20 (Photo by Emery Little)

5SOS & The Chainsmokers headline the ‘World War Joy’ concert

The collaboration concert took place Oct. 20 at Bridgestone Arena, delivering a unique concert experience.

October 22, 2019

Bridgestone Arena buzzed with electricity as kids, teens and adults alike chattered with excitement in anticipation of The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer gracing the stage on Oct. 20. As the lights dimmed, the crowd was drawn to bright white lights flashing back and forth across the stage, and soon the familiar chords of 5SOS’s “She Looks So Perfect” commanded the room. 

Suddenly, everyone was on their feet. A single spotlight was on Ashton Irwin, 5SOS’s drummer, performing a solo. Calum Hood and Michael Clifford entered through opposite sides of the stage, strumming their guitars as the stage lights brightened. Finally, lead singer Luke Hemmings ran onto the stage, grabbing the microphone to take over the rest of the song. 

A large crowd of all ages showed up to enjoy a setlist curated by two of the biggest bands in the music industry (Photo by Emery Little)

Hemmings, commented on the black leather pants he was sporting, noting that it took him a long time to put them on but he did it “just for you, Nashville.” The setlist, which mainly featured songs from the band’s newest album, “Youngblood,” was a mix of upbeat songs and passionate ballads. “Ghost of You,” a particularly slow-building piece, was welcomed with a sea of smartphone flashlights from the crowd swaying back and forth as Hemmings hit every note perfectly. The band finished their set with their recognizable Billboard hits “Want You Back” and “Youngblood.” 

While the adults seemed to enjoy 5SOS’s set, many were not as animated as the younger crowd that were up on their feet throughout the night. Hemmings, who seemed to take notice, requested for everyone to be jumping on their feet for “Youngblood.” Despite his admirable attempt to unify the audience, there was some momentary awkwardness as tweens attempted to hype up their older peers.

The end of 5SOS did not mark the end of the concert, but rather, a taste for what was to come. Two tall, silver pillars standing upright onstage were suddenly lifted to form an ‘X’ that stretched across the stage as The Chainsmokers’ set began. Red rays beamed from the pillars in sync with the beat that DJ Alexander Pall played. By the end, Andrew Taggart, the lead singer, came out from behind the boulders and greeted the audience, who was cheering already. Now, everyone was jumping up and down – including the adults.

The Chainsmokers began their set with instrumental EDM, inspiring killer dance moves from the audience and leading into their Grammy award-winning song “Don’t Let Me Down.” The performance featured rainbow light beams shining across the audience as smoke, fire and fireworks blasted off from the sides of the stage, illuminating the stadium in a cool blue and orange. Taggart’s energy seemed endless – he never stopped running back and forth across the stage and engaging his fans. 

The concert featured intense special effects that hyped up the audience (Photo by Emery Little)

“Sick Boy,” a more recent Chainsmokers single, was performed with Taggart jumping into a disco ball hanging from the stadium’s ceiling. It perfectly tied in the imagery of the song’s lyrics, materializing a sick boy needing to be “locked up” and making for a moving ballad, despite its high energy chords.

The duo brought back 5SOS to perform “Who Do You Love,” with Taggart joining along on guitar.  The biggest surprise of the night came with surprise guest Kelsea Ballerini, featured in their song “This Feeling,” who closed the concert. 

Despite some stiff moments, notably 5SOS’s occasional unfamiliar song choices or Taggart’s decision to quit singing his new single halfway through, there is no denying the incredible diversity and energy this concert delivered. Many speculated that a joint performance of two bands with different genres would be unsuccessful, but instead, it brought a refreshing change of pace to mainstream bands.  The audience, filled with people of various ages and backgrounds, moved as one when hits “Don’t Let Me Down” and “She Looks So Perfect” took the stage. It was a rare and powerful reminder of how music as an entity serves to bring everyone together, and it left no doubt that the concert was the place to be on that Nashville Sunday. 

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