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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

The entertainment’s here: AJR performs a spectacular virtual concert

Hunter Berube
The AJR brothers performing at an in-person concert.

Like the plot of a successful Netflix original series, AJR’s “One Spectacular Night” is the season finale of an exciting year for the rising indie pop band of three brothers. 

The livestream concert held on VenewLive started at 8 p.m. on Dec. 26. AJR brought the entertainment to computer screens and iPads across the nation, as well as shows that were hosted for countries in Europe and Asia that same week. 

Where to begin on what a night like this felt like? It’s easier to start by describing what AJR sounds like:

AJR seamlessly blends unique instruments and beats with feelings that many of us store away and never open back up. AJR found a way to expose raw emotion and helped fans process the big questions that cloud our minds. 

The opening set is a mash-up of hit songs like “Sober Up,” “Burn the House Down” and “100 Bad Days.” It was a reminder to fans that “Oh y’a, sit back and relax, this is gonna be a good one.” 

The lights and special effects created a cinematic eye-catcher, like watching a Saturday morning cartoon host a special musical episode. Viewers could feel like kids again: all giddy and ready to indulge! 

A concert, a live stream…What should we call it? A masterpiece! 

Cinematically, this show was a full-fledged film festival. Each song had a unique look and fun choreography.

Ryan Met hovering above the piano mimicking Elton John’s iconic Troubadour performance. (Austin Roa)

There was a very cool parallel between band member Ryan Met hovering above the piano during his performance of “Turning Out Part II” and the picture of Elton John doing the same at his piano when he played at Troubadour in West Hollywood, California. 

That iconic picture was just around the same time Elton started getting noticed, which may be a coincidence for the band.

Ryan Met, the brother that specializes in piano, ukulele and producing, talked after the show about the hard work that went into making a virtual performance. 

Met said it took over three months to plan everything, with extensive care taken toward safety and COVID-19 guidelines. The brothers took courses in how to properly use harnesses and learned as much as they could about other equipment, like strobe lights and streaming capabilities. 

They offered regular admission tickets but also something called a director’s package. This meant you could choose which camera you’d like to watch from, even the option to see their dad’s reaction on the “Gary Cam.”

Fans could also interact during the show with “mash buttons” to applaud, cheer and stomp. Each of the sound effects were custom made by the band, highlighting the small details and extra mile the band is willing to go. There was also a live chat that was flooded with AJR fans, all excited to see the band perform their favorite songs. 

Joining them on stage were performers Arnetta Johnson on trumpet and Chris Berry on drums. These two musicians had a huge impact on stage presence. Though they weren’t the main focus, they were always in the zone and giving their best effort to make the night… well, spectacular! 

There’s something about AJR that just pulls you in. They make you want to be a part of their movement, making songs that let you find your own personal connection and get you outside your comfort zone. They make you want to feel vulnerable and be excited to feel that way. 

Jack Met, the youngest brother and lead vocalist, talked about the show in a post on the AJR brothers’ Instagram page.

“We wanted to do something outrageous and actually frightening,” he said. “Y’know, to actually show ourselves that we can be outside our comfort zones. That it’s a good thing.” 

If you didn’t get to see the show, check out Austin Roa, the band’s live concert photographer and the multicam assistant director of the live steam on Instagram to see some of the shots he captured. 

Fans who pre-order their new album, “OK Orchestra” on Spotify or Apple Music will get to hear an early release of their new song, “My Play.”

The future is bright for these brothers. You should get your shades on and join their rising stardom.

Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterBerube.

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About the Contributor
Hunter Berube, Cartoonist/Staff Writer | he/him
Hunter is a senior broadcast journalism major at Suffolk University who hopes to be a producer in the future. He has created two student-run shows through his work study position at Suffolk's Studio 73. Through his internship at Dirty Water Media, Hunter produces his own live show that streams on NECN. When he's not drawing or on the ice, you can find him eating poutine at Saus. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterBerube Email him at [email protected]

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The entertainment’s here: AJR performs a spectacular virtual concert