by MIKE CHAIKEN
Concerts, especially when you’re young, are about making memories.
If you go with your parents, it’s about a shared moment with mom and dad.
If you go with your friends, it’s about the crazy moments you have when you’re out of sight from the watchful sight of mom and dad.
And, the music of whatever artist you’re watching that night becomes that soundtrack of those memories that follow you for the rest of your lives.
That’s why artists like Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, and the Beach Boys can sell out shows even though they no longer are “boys” or “kids.” When we hear the music of those artists, we remember the smiles of those moments when their melodies first reached our ears.
When the five-some known as Why Don’t We came to the Mohegan Sun Arena on Aug. 9, the crowd in the packed house was overwhelmingly female. There were few boys anywhere in sight, and any possible dads stayed outside of the arena and played the slots, or stayed home altogether. There were more moms (or cool aunts) keeping an eye on some of the younger girls.
Almost no one, other than the aforementioned moms and aunts, crested the age of 17. Most of the crowd was younger than 15.
So, it’s safe to assume for most of the audience, Why Don’t We was their first ever concert. And it was destined to be a permanent part of their memories for years to come.
Although the five band members– Jonah Marais, Corbyn Besson, Daniel Seavey, Jack Avery, and Zach Herron—probably didn’t ponder it, they had an immense responsibility on stage. Not only were they up there for themselves—giving the group another toe-hold on its way up to superstardom—they were making memories for thousands of teens and tweens. Why Don’t We was ensuring that when their audience hears “8 Letters,” “I Don’t Belong In This Club,” “I Still Do,” “Trust Fund Baby,” Something Different,” or “Why Don’t We Just” years from now that they’d relive this moment in the summer of 2019.
Fortunately for everyone concerned, Why Don’t We didn’t let their fans down. Throughout their 20-song plus set, the focus was always on the band, with most of the backing tracks provided by recordings. They sang, they danced, and they bantered with the audience, which shouted with excitement at every move from the members.
Why Don’t We’s choreography played to their strengths, pulling from several chapters of the vocal group playbook.
Why Don’t We also is fortunate to have a great number of catchy songs, all of which the audience sang along to throughout the night– having committed lyrics and melodies to heart.
To mix things up, the five guys took several pauses to dash backstage for a quick wardrobe change. It was clear the changing attire was intended to highlight a changing mood and different facet of their personality.
The members of Why Don’t We were polished and determined to please their fans.
It was a dedicated crowd. Several of the audience members in the front row had caught several slots on the tour with mentions of gigs in Alabama, Detroit, and Philadelphia on their assorted itineraries for the “8 Letters” tour. These fans clearly were digging deep into their synapses to create memories for this tour.
But for the rest of the audience, Why Don’t We certainly provided a singular show that its fans would remember, talk to their friends about, and would be blasted across the ‘Gram for a couple of nights to come.
Opening for Why Don’t We were two other up and coming singers, EBEN and Taylor Grey.
EBEN just signed a major recording label deal because of his association with the Why Don’t We tour. He provided a high-energy, freewheeling set that pumped the crowd up considerably for the headliners. With a good number of fans shouting out his name and wearing his t-shirts, EBEN proved to the record company he was a wise investment.
Taylor Grey, the lone female on the bill, demonstrated strong pop vocal skills. And she was a good choice to get the energy flowing at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Aug. 9.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN