Lasers, Strobe Lights, and Flames- OH MY! A Review of The Chainsmokers’ Visit to The Xcel Energy Center


I was a freshman in college when I heard “Closer” by The Chainsmokers for the first time, and last night was probably the 594,393rd time. As a student at the University of Minnesota, while attending tailgates and house parties it was almost impossible to not be exposed to this group and their insanely popular music over the past few years, to the point where the lyrics of their hot songs have almost been more ingrained in my mind than much of the terminology I was memorizing on a daily basis for school. It felt curiously natural, dare I say impulsive, to take this opportunity to cover such a hyped-up show, and looking back I will admit that I truly had no idea what I was walking into that Saturday night in St. Paul.

As for the music itself, the opening acts cannot be given enough applause as they were powerful enough to warrant their own concerts, I’d argue. Lennon Stella was the first opening act; A music duo reigning from Ontario, their country and pop duality laid a solid foundation and warmed up the audience for the second act

5 Seconds of Summer, or 5SOS.

By the time The Chainsmokers were prepping to take the stage, the crowd was primed and ready to get rowdy as ever. The biggest tipping of the hat that must be given to The Chainsmokers is to how they managed to make almost every one of their popular (dare I say most overplayed?) songs feel fresh and new by making some impromptu remixes that kept the crowd on their toes at all times, but the music was only a fraction of this experience.

While the electropop group has been nominated for awards regarding their songs and music videos alike, I would strongly argue that if there’s an award for stage presence and special effects this occasion would be the top contender. Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart wasted no time making their intentions clear for the evening. The expression “go big or go home” came to mind immediately as within a matter of moments after taking to the stage, every special effect I can list to date was displayed in a beautifully controlled chaos. Lasers, fireworks, flames, smoke cannons, strobe lights, and believe it or not at one point – motorcycles… Yes. They had motorcycles on stage. You can’t make this stuff up, let alone begin to wonder how they decided THAT was what their performance needed. And if that wasn’t enough insight into how chaotic this concert truly was, the drummer literally had their drumsticks on fire at one point.


On Fire.

While Playing.

Matt McGuire who also serves as the music director for the group’s live shows, showed no fear and absolute rage on that drum set all night. With each beating of the drum, goosebumps were kept alive and well across the concert goers.

Nothing will ever compare to the tamed absurdity and energy that came in screaming on that stage this Saturday night. As I was leaving the show and checking in with friends and family, texts came buzzing in: “how was it?” “were they as good as their Youtube videos show?” “did you cry like you did when you saw Post Malone?” To the last message I responded with “no Mom, I did not cry this time” but every other emotion in my body was triggered at some point with the bouncing crowds, screaming fans, and energizer-bunny level stage presences that Pall and Taggart delivered. The group that found its fame by remixing songs of indie artists has taken themselves to a level I can’t imagine they ever saw coming. The flashes, explosions, and electric supremacy of The Chainsmokers is something I will most likely never be able to compare to with another show or artist. They truly are something special, and so was this taste of the World War Joy tour.