Only a musical on Broadway stands a chance of topping the dazzling performance put on by fun. at Jesse Auditorium the week before Thanksgiving. The group presented a spectacular concert complete with a beautiful light show, excellent choreography and a phenomenal display of musical talent.
Miniature Tigers, a Brooklyn-based indie rock group, set the night off to a rocky start. Vocalist Charlie Brand put out raspy, out-of-tune vocals and plenty of vulgar language throughout the opener of the show. The balance in the instrumentation was bad, the sound was low quality, and the rhythm was lost in the band’s sloppy attempts at choreography. Overall, the opening act disappointed the eager fans.
However, the crowd and I did find amusement in bassist Brandon Lee’s constant jig in which he flipped around his floppy faux-hawk to the beat of every song. Miniature Tigers closed their act with their original, “Cannibal Queen,” which sparked some excitement in the crowd, who anticipated the start of fun.’s performance.
Even before fun. entered the stage, the crowd roared with energy. Fun. vocalist Nate Ruess walked onto the stage wearing a blue and white polka dot button up shirt and black khaki pants. His short sleeves were rolled up. The auditorium thundered.
Immediately, I saw the contrast. Where Miniature Tigers lacked vocal strength, Ruess belted out every song like an ordinary operatic star. Where no balance existed earlier, finely tuned dynamics appeared down to the footfalls of the guitarists. The musical quality astonished me. Pure tones, distinct chords and precise rhythms were present in every second of fun.’s performance.
A fantastic light show was the icing atop the cake. The lighting added a second dimension to the music. For “Some Nights” and “We Are Young,” flashes of color behind strong spotlights summoned high spirits from the audience. For the soft, sweet song, “The Gambler,” simple floods of golden light and pale blue accents molded a melancholy mood to match the lyrical beauty.
Before the band played “All Alright,” Ruess taught his fans the chorus. The band played the song, and when the chorus came up, the band cut back and Ruess allowed the crowd to take over. After the song, he cracked a wide smile filled with pure joy. True musicians love music, whether they create it or influence it. It was obvious that fun. rehearsed every song and every transition to perfection. Beyond their music, the passion that the musicians emulated while on stage created an atmosphere where fun.’s music thrived. Without this, none of fun.’s excellence mattered.
The best part of the concert was this atmosphere. The great songs, the lights and the incredible performance constructed a source of entertainment that went far beyond its duty. I was not only entertained; I was persuaded to love music and to buy into the passion of the artists. I bought into the idea that music is beautiful and that concerts can be greater than just a performance. If I never see a musical on Broadway, I am content that I saw fun. in concert.
By Emily Franke