Neon Trees | The Wiltern (Los Angeles, CA) | June 14, 2014 |
It’s really easy for a band with brand spanking new material to play said material exclusively on tour. Thankfully that is not the kind of show that Neon Trees like to put on. And while this is the Pop Psychology tour based off their new album of the same name, Neon Trees mixed things up a bit. The first song of their two-page set list, “Lessons in Love (All Day All Night)” begins as the band is back-lit against the white curtain that stands between them and the audience. It might be expected for the curtain to drop as soon as front man Tyler Glenn starts signing but Neon Trees are banking on building anticipation with their moving silhouette shadows. The curtain finally drops and fans cheer as the highly fashionable band begins taking the audience on a ride through all three of their albums.
Now Neon Trees have a knack for taking well-known songs and mixing them up musically and making a completely fresh and new version for their audience to enjoy. There were more than a few quizzical looks from fans as they listened to the new intros trying to figure out what song was next, in eager anticipation, then delighted to hear old favorites such as “Animal”, “Your Surrender”, and “1983.” The audience even got a very special treat as Tyler announced his mom requested they play “Still Young”, which they had never played live before. You never would have guessed that it wasn’t a part of their intended and original set for the evening because they were so tight. Another highlight came in the middle of “Sleeping With A Friend” as Tyler led the crowd in a chant of “all my friends” and proceeded to crowd surf with all his friends.
Not to mention this show was very unique for a Los Angeles crowd as the audience was completely into it; singing along to almost every song, dancing and cheering Tyler Glenn’s Michael Jackson-esque dance moves on stage. And a much-anticipated treat was fulfilled when badass drummer Elaine Bradley stepped away from behind the drums to perform “Mad Love” and “Unavoidable” with Tyler.
Plus, the entire evening was punctuated with stories from Tyler ranging in topics from finding love in this modern age to loving a friend but hating their friends. However, the evening took a somber note when Tyler openly discussed his struggles with learning to love himself and accepting himself for who he is instead of running away and hiding in fear. He passionately talked about conquering his fear and ended it by imploring fans to “come out as yourself.” The honesty and rawness of his speech garnered major support and cheers, rightfully so.
The evening finished out with a three-song encore which included a Pixies cover, their hit single from Picture Show “Everybody Talks”, and the very honest “First Things First.” It was a beautifully crafted, inspiring, magnetic, and entertaining evening that left this reporter with an amazing post show high.