They braved the cold, the rain, the mud, and a two-hour delay. By the time things finally got going, students attending the Dandelion Day performances were very, very ready.
Clearly, so was Neon Trees. From the first song to the last, lead singer Tyler Glenn strutted and spun around the stage. He never slipped on the stage like he said he probably would (“my ass is gonna break”), but he made a show of collapsing during some of his numbers. At one point, he conducted the audience in song. Later, he crowd surfed.
In short, the name of the game was energy. Glenn came prepared.
Neon Trees is a band, of course, and Glenn gave credit where it was due to his bandmates. Drummer Elaine Bradley might have been the biggest surprise of the evening, harmonizing with Glenn several times throughout, including a cover of the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me”.
“You don’t gotta sing the one song of ours you know from Spotify,” he said, before flipping them and the rest of the crowd off as he sang “Animals.”
His semi-joking frustration with the students became something of a running gag for the show.
“This song goes out to those assholes in the corner who go to your school,” he said before beginning a song called “I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends.)”
In addition to being hyperactive and sassy, and sometimes incorrect — like when he yelled “Go Tigers!” — Glenn was down-to-earth and personal.
He also spoke of his history dealing with his identity as a gay man. After asking the audience’s age (19 seemed to be the general consensus), he transitioned into the next song by saying, “So, when I was 19, I was still a straight person.”
The song, Glenn explained, was something he wrote for his then-girlfriend, but he was really thinking of a guy. He concluded the story optimistically: “It’s 2019; we all like what we like, right?”
If the vibe of Neon Trees was hyperactive but personal, the vibe of the opener, Njomza, was more, well, vibey. The relaxed — and relaxing — style may have been a bit inappropriate for a D-Day audience who’d been waiting for two hours, but she won many over with her impressive vocals and a very enthused hype man dressed in an orange jumpsuit. Though the tone was very different, Njomza did get personal like Glenn. She dedicated one performance to the late Mac Miller (she was the first to sign his label). By the end, many students were into it, waving their phone lights around during the last song.
Things started off rocky with the delay and the mud, and students needed the performers to deliver. By turns lax, lively, funny, and casual, they did.
Shweta Koul contributed reporting.