Reviews and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Yeah, the kids are alright…
Throughout the summer of 2012, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center cranked up the volume for dozens of ear-splitting rock ‘n’ roll shows, but unless you were there on Labor Day, you have absolutely no idea just how loud 5,500 kids can sound when they’re screaming for their favorite band to come on stage. Judging by the sheer volume and pin-the-needle decibel level of the crowd, it beat all the rest of this summer’s SPAC shows hands down.
It wasn’t Slayer, the Dave Matthews Band, Santana, Phish, the Allman Brothers, Nickelback, Godsmack or even Def Leppard. No, it was the Fresh Beat Band!
Well, if you don’t know who they are, chances are damned good that you don’t live in a household with a pre-teen. When the Fresh Beat Band hit the stage on the afternoon of Monday, September 3 to wrap up the Labor Day weekend, the Nickelodeon cable channel favorites had thousands of five-year-olds (and some parents, too) dancing in the aisles and seemingly singing right along with every word to every song.
For the slightly older teen crowd, it was the Big Time Rush (the latest boy-band equivalent of the Back Street Boys of a generation back) who danced with choreographic precision and sang together with ultra-tight harmonies and individual voices on August 14. Young girls swooned throughout the show, and the teen boys in the crowd took notes on the band’s every move, hair style and expression to later try out their own moves to impress the girls. Australian teen-age heart throb Cody Simpson and an all-too-young, spunky, Shirley Temple-dressed Rachel Crow opened up that show.
But for the teen set, perhaps nothing beat witnessing a crowd of teenage girls screeching at the top of their lungs as a decked-out, oh-so-fashionable Demi Lovato descended the steps from a raised platform to set foot in heels on SPAC’s stage on back on June 26. Greeting the crowd in the pit, she launched a spirited set, as she sang her heart out about love, rejection and loss. Teen heart-throb, boy-band rockers Hot Chelle Rae opened that show with an adult-like rock n’ roll performance coupled to Ryan Follesé’s mature-beyond-his-years vocal presentation.
NOTE: If you’re a parent looking for more top-notch family-friendly kid music, check out children’s music songman Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players at 3:30pm on Saturday (September 15) at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs. Tix are $5; children FREE.