Neon Trees concert leaves everybody talking

By Faith Allendorf, Managing Editor for Reporting

Wednesday evening, Utah rock band Neon Trees illuminated State Farm Center with a colorful concert as a new addition to the University’s Homecoming Week celebrations.

Formed in 2005 by a group of childhood friends, Neon Trees steadily grew in popularity throughout the late 2000s, especially after opening for other popular bands at the time, such as The Killers, Panic! At the Disco and My Chemical Romance.

In 2010, Neon Trees debuted their first album, with the well-known song “Animal” as the leading track. Little did they know, “Animal” would become the band’s first number one song on a Billboard chart and further boost their popularity.

However, their most well-known song, “Everybody Talks” debuted two years later in 2012, earning another number one spot on a Billboard chart.

“Animal,” “Everybody Talks” and other popular songs such as “Sleeping With a Friend” solidified Neon Trees’ place as an iconic early 2010’s band whose songs evoke nostalgia.

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The concert opened with a few songs by English-Irish band New Rules — a boy-band trio formed in 2019. New Rules filled the State Farm Center with smooth acoustic tunes, sang in harmonies and charmed the audience with one-liners and other cheeky jokes.

When Neon Trees came on stage, the crowd burst with excitement. The energy in the room was even more ecstatic when the second song of their set was revealed to be “Animal.”

For Haley Liang, senior in Business, “Animal” evoked the sense of nostalgia of being a pre-teen that many others at the concert felt on Wednesday night.

“Animal was (my favorite song of the night) because it’s such a throwback to like, 2010,” Liang said.

The concert featured a colorful lighting design that emphasized the word “neon” in the band’s name. At times, specifically-colored lights would form a spotlight that shined down on lead singer Tyler Glenn. Purple, white, blue and other-colored strobe lights illuminated the Center, flashing around the stage and into the audience.

Throughout the concert, Glenn charmed the crowd with plenty of jokes, dance moves and commentary. Glenn also interacted with the audience, making jokes with the people who were in front of the stage, as well as encouraging fans to put their hands in the air, clap and snap along or sing for him during specific moments in songs.

Besides “Animal,” Neon Trees played songs such as “Skeleton Boy,” “Songs I Can’t Listen To,” “1983” and “Sleeping With a Friend.” The band also featured a cover of “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League, a song the crowd was excited to sing along to.

Near the middle of the concert, Glenn gave a speech about being true to one’s self and living in the moment. Glenn mentioned how he had struggled with depression on and off and how he did not come out as gay until 2014. He told the audience that they should enjoy being together and have a “f***ing good time.”

Then, the band jumped into “Used to Like,” a song about coming together with others and having untethered authenticity.

Nancy Smith drove from Bloomington with her daughter Melissa to see Neon Trees. Nancy Smith said that one of the most notable moments of the night was Glenn’s speech.

“I like his message, as he really struggled a lot with depression,” she said. “I’ve followed them for a long time, and he’s come out now, and he’s kept going along. He’s definitely got a nice message … and he is a great guy with great energy.”

At the end of the concert, Glenn thanked the audience for the concert before they played the most-anticipated song of the night: “Everybody Talks.” The audience was as loud as the band as they jumped around and screamed the lyrics. The energy in the room was ecstatic.

For the final chorus, the band suddenly stopped playing, making the audience fill the silence, and they did. After the audience sang, Glenn and the rest of the band jumped back into the song to play the chorus one final time.

For Liang, the sing-along was one of the most memorable moments of the night.

“I really liked during the middle of ‘Everybody Talks’ when he just wanted us to sing, and I really just started saying ‘Hey, this is really cool,’” Liang said.

Both of the Smiths said the concert was a very nostalgic experience, for it brought them back to seven years ago when they saw Neon Trees at the Castle Theatre in Bloomington.

“It just made me think of when we saw them before,” Melissa Smith said. “It was the first live show I had been to. Being here tonight felt like I was 14 again.”

Nostalgia was a common theme throughout the night. Joseph Casino and Gabe Walton, freshmen in Engineering, and Logan Blancett, freshman in LAS, attended the concert together. All three said that seeing Neon Trees threw them back into the early 2010’s.

“These songs are the type of songs that popped up on the radio when you’re on your way home from school,” Casino said. “Yeah, man. It just hits.”

Blancett also elaborated on how the Neon Trees concert made him feel like he was a kid again.

“Especially the three most popular songs make me feel that way,” he said. “(The concert) was very nostalgic because those songs were always on in my house.”


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