In the past two years, from when The Fray released their debut LP How To Save A Life
, they have blown up from being a tiny piano-rock band out of Denver to being played on Top 40 radio stations across the nations. So it’s no surprise that this summer they were ready to embark on their first headlining-arena tour, which made a stop in New Jersey on Monday, June 25th. PNC Bank Arts Center was packed with teens to people in their 30s eagerly waiting to see what they hoped would be an exciting and energetic performance from The Fray, but many including myself seemed to be left disappointed at the end of the night.
The concert was opened by another piano-rock band, Mae. They put on a good performance, but the problem with arena shows is that most people don’t know the first opening bands songs and Mae definitely felt that vibe. If you’re a fan of them you would’ve been very happy with their performance, which included a mix of songs from their previous LPs and even some new ones from their new record which is being released in August. However, Mae did lack personality, which a band needs at shows lack this. They rarely engaged the crowd and seemed almost two serious up on the stage, but at least their set was solid.
Next up was Chicago dance-rock band OK Go. Their performance was very infectious as they kept the crowd on their feat and constantly moving, even if some people didn’t know the words. Lead singer, Damian Kulash, ran around the stage and hyped everyone up while still singing loud enough for everyone in the arena to hear. The best part about their set is that everyone had their attention on what was happening on the stage and were satisfied with what they saw and heard. OK Go was a definite crowd-pleaser and a great way to make sure the crowd was warmed up for the night’s headliners.
Finally it was time for The Fray. A loud beep could be heard from the speakers and then a heart monitor showed up on all the screens surrounding the stage. As the beeps persisted the crowd became even more excited as everyone got to their feet and started cheering. The Fray walked on stage and began to sing their song, All At Once
, but one thing seemed to be lacking, more than half the crowd wasn’t singing along. From people who were so excited to not know any of the words to the opening song was rather shocking and this act seemed to carry out through the rest of the concert. After this song The Fray began to play more mellow songs which caused everyone to sit down, which isn’t what a band wants to see on their first arena tour, but The Fray lacked a lot of energy which is what the crowd needed to see. At least the band decided to switch things up in the middle of their set. They began to play some songs acoustically and even played some country songs, because as they said, “Every rock band needs a good country song,” the crowd didn’t seem to agree with that. After that the band decided to show some humor as the drummer, Ben Wysocki, switched roles with lead singer, Isaac Slade, and sang for a song, that the whole crowd seemed to know and actually excited them. And that song just happened to bean acoustic version of Shakira’s Hips Don't Lie
. The only other time the crowd became that excited and knew all the lyrics was when The Fray played their two singles Over My Head (Cable Car)
and How to Save a Life
. As The Fray left the stage the crowd cheered for more, which was ironic, since about half of them seemed to have fallen asleep during their set, but The Fray came out and did an encore for everyone who was cheering anyways. They played Look After You
and even did another cover, Oasis’ Wonderwall
, which pleased the crowd very much.
Overall The Fray came up short in showing why they should belong headlining in an arena, they lacked energy, didn’t engage the crowd, and most of their fans didn’t know any other songs besides their singles.
Amanda Agueda is a staff write with Musiqtone. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.