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    Best of 2023: Concerts

    Mi Nguyen
    Concerts have always been extremely popular, as they are able to bring together large groups of people together in solidarity to support their favorite artist, and this year was no different. Join our writers as they delve into some of the best concerts of 2023, featuring artists such as Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

    The Car Tour (Arctic Monkeys)

    Starting on Sept. 29, 2023, Arctic Monkeys performed their final string of shows at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif., as an impressive end to their energetic tour following the release of their seventh studio album, “The Car.” The night was full of energy as every crowd member screamed with excitement through each song, as well as the band’s short breaks in between. All in all, the band emulated the punk energy they were born out of.

    The concert started somewhat melancholically with “Sculptures of Anything Goes.” However, with the band’s immaculate stage presence, the crowd didn’t seem to mind. It wasn’t long until the band switched to some of their more upbeat songs such as “Brainstorm,”  which was a complete energy shift in the best way possible. 

    A particularly unforgettable moment that all attendees of the tour were given the chance to experience was during the song “There’d better be a mirrorball.” As the emotionally charged song came to a slow end, none other than a massive disco ball, or more on theme, mirrorball, lowered into the stadium filling it with light. Written across it was the band’s name in their signature print, and it remained lowered for the songs that followed, providing an indescribable ambiance that fans melted into.

    The band did an exquisite job incorporating songs from all of their “eras,” ranging from their debut album, “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” to more popular albums like “AM.” Even if a concert-goer didn’t know all of the lyrics to the songs, or was simply a casual listener, the band’s energy was what truly made the performance spectacular. Each member of the band seemed completely immersed in the songs they were playing, and perfectly emulated the spirit of each one as well.

    The encore solely entertained The Kia Forum with high-energy songs such as,  “I Wanna Be Yours” and “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” leaving an impression that left fans speechless as they shuffled out of the venue. All in all, Arctic Monkeys’ performance was monumentally successful and enjoyable, amassing social media attention and talk among Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) students alike. 

    The Eras Tour (Taylor Swift)

    Spanning more than three hours and nine different albums, The Eras Tour has become wildly successful, with a total of 151 shows over five continents. Taylor Swift announced the tour in 2022 following the release of her album “Midnights,” with the tour commencing on Mar. 17, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. The Eras Tour is not only Swift’s sixth concert tour, but objectively her most popular and successful one yet.  

    The biggest aspect of the tour, as mentioned in the name, is the different “eras” Swift travels through each show. Each era corresponds to one of her albums, starting with “Lover” and ending with “Midnights.” Through 42 set songs and two surprise ones, Swift’s non-stop performance for over three hours amazed fans watching both in person, or over a grainy TikTok live stream. The setlist featured a mix of her greatest hits such as “Love Story” and “You Need To Calm Down,” but also included more deep-cut tracks such as “Marjorie,” “The Archer” and “My Tears Ricochet.” While 42 songs is a long show, Swift wanted to somehow include tracks that fans love but weren’t on the setlist. This came with the introduction of surprise songs, two tracks unique to each show. 

    Although Swift has put on major tours before, The Eras Tour was nothing compared to her previous ones. Through set and costume design, on-screen graphics and the length of the setlist, this tour set the bar astronomically high. But, as the most popular artist in the world, there were a plethora of drawbacks that came with the show, in particular, the tickets. When tour tickets first went on sale in November of 2022, Ticketmaster experienced all sorts of crashes and run-ins with ticket-buying bots. Since many die-hard fans were unable to get tickets, Swift worked alongside director Sam Wrench and filmed three of the six Los Angeles (L.A.) tour dates, splicing them together to create “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” which was a film released in October of 2023. 

    Boygenius: The Tour (Boygenius)

    At the iconic Hollywood Bowl in L.A., on Oct. 31, 2023, indie-rock supergroup, Boygenius, hosted a sold out crowd to close out their 2023 tour with a bang. In the spooky spirit of Halloween, devil horns rose atop the amphitheater and ecstatic concert attendees dressed to impress with a fantastic variety of costumes. 

    Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, each of whom have their own solo careers, make up the uber successful trio that is Boygenius. In 2018, they decided to join forces with the intent of recording just one single together. One single quickly turned into a six song extended play (EP), and the supergroup recently reunited to release their second album, “the record,” in 2023. 

    The “holy trinity” graced the amphitheater as Boygenius took the stage: Dacus dressed as the Father, Baker as the Son and Bridgers as the Holy Spirit. Boygenius began their performance by perfectly harmonizing the acapella track, “Without You Without Them.” The beauty and delicacy of this song was mesmerizing, but just before fans could shed a tear of admiration, the group swiftly transitioned into the upbeat song, “$20,” and the crowd went wild. 

    Before “Letter To An Old Poet,” Bridgers expressed how deeply personal this song is to her, and kindly asked everyone in the crowd to put their phones away for the duration of the performance. As Bridgers’ angelic voice blanketed the atmosphere, she walked around the pool circle, gently touching hands with those in the pit. Without holding the distraction of recording cell phones, fans were able to appreciate this song in a whole new light and truly relish in this special moment. 

    After absolutely nailing their top hit, “Not Strong Enough,” the band mysteriously disappeared off stage. They quickly made their way up to a small platform in the center of the stadium where they played four acoustic tracks from an EP, “the rest.” The trio’s position in the middle of the crowd fostered an intimate atmosphere, giving fans throughout the stadium an up close view of the immense talent and passion of Boygenius. During their song “Black Hole,” the trio was enveloped in a breathtaking sea of glimmering phone flashlights, and an air of serendipity took hold of the amphitheater, making for an impeccable performance. 

    For the final few songs, the trio made the descent back to the main stage, where they each performed renditions of each others own songs; Dacus began by singing Baker’s, “Good News,” followed by Baker on Bridger’s renowned, “Motion Sickness,” and finally with Bridgers performing Dacus’ masterful, “Night Shift.” After the audience belted out the final verse of “Ketchum ID,” the show concluded with iconic “Salt In The Wound” and teary eyed audience members were left in a state of awe. 

    The Bewitched Tour (Laufey)

    Fans excitedly flocked to The Theater at Ace Hotel in downtown L.A. on Nov. 18, 2023, anticipating a glamorous night of jazz from the Icelandic-Chinese songstress known mononymously as Laufey. Following her opening act, Adam Melchor, who also played guitar in her live ensemble, Laufey played 19 tracks in total, including 16 original songs, two additional surprise encore tracks and one cover song.

    This majestic Spanish gothic theater was the perfect setting for Laufey’s Bewitched tour, for which this night was her second-to-last show on its North American leg. Upon entering, concertgoers proceeded to their seats through the ornate archways to their right, or braved the deceptively long line for merchandise to their left. A novel perk of this theater were the various photo-op spots around the lobby and mezzanine — rather than awkward selfies in jam-packed arena stands, guests could take photos mostly crowd-free. 

    Circular lights gently flickered behind Laufey, arranged like luminous wings glowing and fading to the tempo of her songs, as she masterfully delivered her well-renowned live vocals. She embraced her live ensemble with gracious recognition— in their renditions of “Fragile,” “Promise” and “Bewitched,” they were able to pull off a harmonious syncopation between her vocals and the strings and percussion. Between songs, she shared stories from her personal life and how they inspired her songwriting. Fans reveled in her abilities to transcend her tales of childhood hopefulness, love and hardships as a young woman, as well as happiness, into beautiful compositions beloved worldwide.

    Love On Tour (Harry Styles)

    From Jan. 26, 2023, to Jan. 29, 2023, pop artist Harry Styles took over the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif., with his Love On Tour. The tour performances consisted of a range of songs, some upbeat while others mellow, all coming from his albums “Harry Styles,” “Fine Line” and “Harry’s House.” While all of the songs he performed made the crowd of fans ecstatic, here are a few highlights. 

    The first highlight was when he performed “Satellite.” With beaming lights flashing on stage, Styles’ fans screamed with joy as he stomped in rhythm with the song’s drum solo. Although people can watch this part of the concert through social media videos, seeing it live created more excitement among fans. 

    The second highlight was when he sang “What Makes You Beautiful,” by One Direction (the band which he used to be a part of from 2010 to 2016). This song emanated a sense of nostalgia in the Kia Forum, as fans reminisced the camaraderie of the five band members before they went on an indefinite hiatus in 2016. Fans chanted all of the lyrics with much passion, making this part of the concert quite memorable.

    Besides Styles’ musical presence on stage, he made sure to keep the fans engaged even during song breaks in all of his Love On Tour performances. For example, on stage he showed a pride flag, dragged a feathered boa with him, read homemade posters that fans held up and even threw water from his water bottle onto fans standing in the pit. 

    Love On Tour not only brought fans together, but it also created an atmosphere that made it one of the best concert tours of 2023. Hopefully, Styles will go on more tours in the future, where fans can relive and create more memories that will last a lifetime. 

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    About the Contributors
    Ruby Jenkins
    Ruby Jenkins, Assignment Editor
    "Jeopardy," “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and iced vanilla latte with oat milk enthusiast.
    Beatrice Barnes
    Beatrice Barnes, Writer
    Your average vegetarian who loves the outdoors and runs for fun.
    Isheeta Pal
    Isheeta Pal, Assignment Editor
    Ballet dancer and dog lover.
    Lily Toreja
    Lily Toreja, Writer
    I sew, I love mochas and I would most likely die for you if we have a five-hour phone call.
    Amber Duhs
    Amber Duhs, Writer
    Second-year writer, chai latte lover and autumn enthusiast.
    Mi Nguyen
    Mi Nguyen, Illustrator
    First-year illustrator. Self proclaimed connoisseur of late night reading.

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