This really has been a big summer for pop tours. This site covers a wide variety of genres, and I personally have no boundaries when it comes to music. Two summers ago, it was all heavy metal music and I loved it. This summer seems to be dominated highly by pop and pop-rock, and I love it just as much. Continuing this tour trend is R5, who made their stop in San Jose last night on their headlining tour in support of their newest record, Sometime Last Night. The size of the venue and the crowd were a bit smaller than I had anticipated, but the members of R5 didn’t seem to care in the least. In fact, it seemed like they thrived off the intimacy of the crowd that was in attendance.
The night was kicked off by DJ Ryland, a newer up and coming DJ/producer, and upon further research, the fifth sibling to the members of R5. Ryland’s set consisted of a mix of popular dance tracks and Top 40 hits that helped get the crowd warmed up. Side note: I noticed after the end of his set that he went back to the soundboards and took the controls for both Jacob Whitesides and R5. The fact that the tour shows that much confidence in his sound production capabilities really stuck out to me, so I’m rather eager to check out his original work now.
Jacob Whitesides took the stage next, and I was rather impressed with his set. Whitesides is a good vocalist. His range isn’t too over-the-top, but it’s still got a nice tone to it. Armed with an acoustic guitar and full backing band, he plowed through a half-hour set with smoothness. It was a nice transition between the dance tracks that we heard earlier into the pop-rock fueled set that our headliners were about to give to us.
It’s about 8:45 PM. The lights go out. A film plays across the dueling video screens that adorn the upper sides of the stage, signifying a ten-second countdown. The lights go up on a white curtain, plastered brightly with each of the five colors present on the cover of the Sometime Last Night album. Rydel Lynch’s piano keys jump through the speakers, alerting the crowd to the start of “All Night”. The curtain drops.
Rydel and Ellington Ratliff (drummer) sit atop stage risers slathered with bright Hollywood-style lights, playing their respective instruments. Rocky (guitar), Riker (bass), and Ross (lead vocals/guitar) descend down the ramp at the top of the risers. It’s full speed ahead from here on out. In terms of pop-punk music, watching R5 is the equivalent of watching an experienced racecar driver. They know when to take it slow around the turns (slower moments like the acoustic tracks) , but when the moments require speeding down the track and soliciting engagement from the crowd, they know how to take their fans along for the ride.
Standout tracks in the set were “Let’s Not Be Alone Tonight” (the huge chanting of “heys” in the chorus was a memorable moment), “F.E.E.L.G.O.O.D.”, “Wild Hearts” (the song before the encore), a remarkably fun version of “Cali Girls”, and a rather impressive cover song, “You And I” (originally by Lady Gaga).
Another highlight-able moment of the night was the performance of “Lightning Strikes”, a track that features keyboardist Rydel on lead vocals. It’s worth noting that she has a powerful voice and stage presence when she steps out from behind the keys.
“You are a shining example of the reason why we tour,” remarks vocalist Ross before the band launch into their final song, a larger-than-life version of their single, “Smile”, which made everybody, well…smile. Including me.
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect about the members of R5 is that they are genuinely good musicians. They have an electrifying sense of musicianship and it’s very clear when you watch them play. They know how to riff off of each other, and even just jam in between songs. Music videos, listening to the mastered CDs, and television appearances on Disney Channel can only do so much; if you really want the R5 experience, you need to buy a ticket and see them in person. It’ll make that smile of yours even wider.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.