Jones Beach Theater took on a more youthful atmosphere July 18 as kids, teens and their parents filled the venue for the “Summer Break Tour,” co-headlined by Nickelodeon stars Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice.
Big Time Rush took it down a notch from the band’s usual production of pyro effects, costume-like wardrobes and synchronized dances, instead offering a more intimate set. And for the first time, Big Time Rush swapped a live band for a deejay that turned up the energy level with song mixes in between wardrobe changes.
It was Big Time Rush’s third performance at Jones Beach Theater, making it their most-played venue.
After opening with the upbeat “Windows Down” and easing into “24/Seven,” the title track off their third album released last month, the band’s 19-song lineup mostly included songs from their latest effort, including “Song for You,” “Get Up,” “Run Wild,” “Crazy For U” and “Confetti Falling.”
The new album features upbeat pop tracks that are slightly different from the dance-like tunes and ballads on their prior release, “Elevate,” in that the sound is younger, but the writing is more mature. Both were a departure from their debut album, “BTR”—a mix of slower and faster tempo songs—when the band had very little creative freedom since BTR was written entirely for their self-titled show.
Big Time Rush fans know that the band’s concert isn’t complete without a few acoustic songs, especially “Worldwide,” where a girl from the audience gets to sit on stage with them as they sing. They later ventured out into the audience, security in tow, for “We Are,” before coming back on stage for “Amazing.”
Between numbers, the band members—Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos Pena and Logan Henderson—interacted with their fans using quirky introductions to some of the tracks, including one instance before “Boyfriend,” where Henderson asked thousands of screaming girls if they were, in fact, looking for a boyfriend.
Big Time Rush ended the show with a mash-up of two songs from their first album “BTR”: “City is Ours” and the theme song to their show. Colorful lights, a fog machine, beach balls and confetti fit the fun ambiance of the amphitheater, where the heat and humidity that day left both the audience and the acts extremely sweaty.
Opening up the show were Jackson Guthy and Olivia Somerlyn, up-and-coming teen pop acts, with individual half-hour sets. Guthy’s black tank top, bling and flipped up hair were a stark resemblance to those of Justin Bieber, but his songs “Pretty Lady” and “Brothers and Sisters” offered a surprisingly more refreshing sound.
Somerlyn’s set was more innocent and bubbly. Her song “Anymore” was about standing up for yourself while “Only in the Movies” was about how magical life can be.
Before BTR came Justice, whose image is perhaps the cleanest of all of the current young female artists who’ve started off on a children’s network (think Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez). She shed some of her innocence for her set that night while donning a sparkly silver crop top and tight black booty shorts accessorized with sassy dance moves.
Her performances of “Freak the Freak Out,” “Take a Hint,” “Make it in America” and her newest singles “Gold” and “Shake” set an energetic high bar for the show.
The “Summer Break Tour” kicked off last month in Los Angeles and will finish up Aug. 15 in Monterrey, Mexico.