Point Park students fill seats at summer concerts

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Ariana Grande

Tia Bailey

Pittsburgh was packed with Ariana Grande fans on June 12, for her concert at PPG Paints Arena.

Grande’s show was opened by Social House, as other opening act Normani was ill, but they still kept the crowd’s energy up. They played their popular song “Magic in the Hamptons,” as well as a new song to later be released.

After the opening act, videos of Grande played while fans waited impatiently. Finally, she began her five act show with “Raindrops (An Angel Cried).”

Grande didn’t interact with the audience much, other than expressing her gratitude in between songs. There were no props other than a graffiti car in “7 Rings,” and most of the visuals were played on a projector.

Grande sang songs from her two latest albums, “Sweetener” and “Thank U Next,” as well as older hits, such as “Break Free” and “Love Me Harder.”

She finished the show with an encore of her song “Thank U Next,” dancing around the stage while she and her dancers held up pride flags. During this song, Grande got choked up while singing about her late ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, who is from Pittsburgh. The stadium cheered loudly as she sang about him, and she ended the show by shooting confetti from the stage.

 

Sad Summer Festival

Dara Collins

Mayday Parade said it best in “Kids In Love,” “The summer was full of mistakes we wouldn’t learn from.”

However, if there’s anything Pittsburgh did learn this summer, it’s that Sad Summer Festival was far from a mistake. Comparable to Vans Warped Tour’s younger sibling, Sad Summer Festival saw more cheers than tears – except during Three Cheers for Five Years.

The stellar lineup included headliners The Maine, Mayday Parade, State Champs and The Wonder Years with supporting acts Jetty Bones, Just Friends, Mom Jeans and Stand Atlantic.

Held on July 19, at Stage AE in the North Shore, the first-year festival drew a diverse crowd of music enthusiasts. The Maine and Mayday Parade’s frontmen John O’Callaghan and Derek Sanders stopped their bands’ sets to acknowledge the festival’s dedication to inclusiveness and love.

O’Callaghan urged the crowd to wrap their arms around one another, claiming that it’s so much easier to love than hate one another, and Sanders, a high school outcast, credited Warped Tour for making him feel welcome and expressed his love for the way music brings a diverse group of individuals together.

Alternative Press commended the festival as a whole for its collaboration with OurMusicMyBody to heavily focus its rules on consent and policies surrounding sexual assault and sexual harassment.

A safe environment is any festival’s number one priority for its concert goers and employees, and a rock festival is no exception – especially with the moshers and crowd surfers. Mosh pits broke in the center of an otherwise crowded pit and new surfers were thrown up into the hands of strangers almost every minute.

With surfers above, moshers beside and everyone else somewhere in the middle, everyone came together for one common denominator: the bands in front and the music swirling around.

 

John Mayer

Kayla Snyder

Sundays, according to John Mayer, are laundry days. The 41-year-old musician expressed his utmost gratitude for all of those in attendance on a Sunday evening on July 28, at PPG Paints Arena. Playing for an arena of 12,000 in attendance, that night was the perfect way to spend a Sunday evening.

Mayer, being the only act on his 2019 World Tour presented an interesting opportunity for fans to be surprised with the setlist that night. Split into two acts, Mayer performed songs across his seven different albums. From taking fan requests to playing whatever he wanted, Mayer created a unique setlist for those in attendance.

From some of his most popular up-beat songs such as “Your Body is a Wonderland” to more ballad-like songs such as “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” Mayer brought an electric energy to the City of Bridges.

Act One brought more of the newer Mayer to the stage, while Act Two was a mix of older and newer versions of himself. With extended guitar solos after nearly every song, Mayer made being a musician to that caliber look easy and effortless.

With such passion for music, during the last song before his encore, “Gravity” he sampled “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” with multiple members of his band performing that piece.

After performing 25 songs across the two acts, Mayer finished out the show with two versions of himself. The folksy-ballad like Mayer featured in his song “Born and Raised” was up first, followed by his summer 2018 eclectic pop single “New Light”, stunning the crowd. Needless to say, those in attendance saw him in a new light after the show.

 

Khalid

Kayla Snyder

The day after John Mayer rocked the house at PPG Paints Arena, Khalid brought a different type of magic to Pittsburgh on July 29, on his Free Spirit Tour.

Happy-go-lucky Khalid brought an infectious energy to the stage and the crowd for his performance to 12,500 thousand fans. From an incredible and meticulous light production to his unique and authentic sound, Khalid brought a performance that was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

Taking the stage was the performer alongside his backup dancers. Despite having the backup dancers, Khalid’s vocals were enough to blow everyone away. From playing hits that could be heard on the radio station such as “Young, Dumb and Broke,” “Eastside” and “Location,” fans were singing along the entire duration of the concert.

One of the most unique parts of the show happened when Khalid took center stage with nothing but a stool to sit on and a microphone in his hand while the perimeter of the stage was decorated with a drape-like feel creating a box around the singer and the stage. Using light production to their advantage, Khalid’s team was able to create an illusion that the singer was in a box.

From ballads such as “Heaven” to high-energy songs such as “My Bad,” Khalid’s set list had something for everyone. Casual fans and die-hard fans could find something enjoyable about this show whether it was the pure vocals or the incredible stage and light production, the Free Spirit Tour kept everyone on their toes the entire night.

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