Two views of a concert

Fog. Hearts Racing. Silence. Lights. Screams. 5 Seconds of Summer. House of Blues San Diego.

Working as a photographer for a 5 Seconds of Summer concert was a unique experience for me. Having seen them previously for Vevo Certified Live in 2015 I was amazed at how much the fan base had grown together alongside Luke, Michael, Calum and Ashton. The most apparent emotions to me when I looked at every single fan I saw were nervous, excited and anxiousness. Some, I’m sure, were anxious to finally see the band again after their last tour Sounds Good Feels Good for their second album in 2016. Fans were beyond ready to see their favorite musicians on stage for the first time in two years.

The dedication of the girls I had the chance to speak to at the front of the line at House of Blues San Diego was so inspiring. Some of them had slept outside to keep their spots in line and make sure they could experience the concert in the very front, to hopefully get noticed by their favorite in the band. That moment when Luke, Calum, Ashton or Michael look you in the eyes is life-changing. I cannot even begin to describe how much I understand the needs of every fan in line to see 5 Seconds of Summer. I can tell you that I have blasted their music in my room and sang at the top my lungs to all their songs. The sad songs, the happy songs and everything in between. Getting the chance to see your favorite band in a smaller venue like House of Blues San Diego is a dream for anyone passionate about music.

View from the barricade:

Before the show I was lucky enough to become friends with a few of the other fans. We chatted from 7 p.m. when the doors opened until 5 Seconds of Summer came on at about 8:45 p.m. It was such a heart-warming experience to become instant friends with people I had known for less than an hour, especially when I only knew two other people at the venue (who I got separated from). Standing in the barricade was an unbelievable feeling. I couldn’t believe that shortly 5 Seconds of Summer would be less than two feet away from me. How was that even possible?

As I stood in front of the stage I again looked at all the faces. It was starting to get pretty warm with 1000 other people in the room. House of Blues security was prepared with ice water and cups for fans to keep them hydrated and healthy. In the front of the crowd I could see the roses, signs and crowns that fans held in hopes to give to 5SOS. Just to steal one moment and finally make the connection in person. To look them in the eyes and sing back the words they have alway sang to them. Priceless.

​Five minutes before they went on I could feel my own heart begin to race. Wow. This was really happening and I was going to capture it all with a camera. I was lucky to have received some pointers from 5SOS’ tour photographer Andy DeLuca. He told me what to look out for during the set. One of the best bits of advice Andy gave me- “you need to wear ear plugs.”

When 5 Seconds of Summer walked out the screams were loud. Incredibly loud. The music was not as loud as the fans. Right away my body started moving and following the different band members and trying to get the best angles possible. It was such an interesting experience working in the barricade with other photographers and being right next to them trying to get the best pictures possible. My favorite moment was when Luke leaned right into the camera during the concert. I screamed a little on the inside. It was so cool singing along while taking pictures. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

View from the pit.

After taking the photos I left the barricade and went to the side to check out some of the photos. From then on, I was able to enjoy the concert in the pit with all the other fans. 5SOS from another angle. LETS GO!

One of the most memorable moments for me was when Calum said that San Diego was a special place for him. He went soul searching here a few years ago and said that it was a beautiful city.

It was humbling that Calum felt comfortable enough to share something like that at such an intimate venue. This lead into the song, “Amnesia,” and fans started singing so loud that he stepped away from the microphone and tossed his hand towards the crowd as if to say “Why am I singing when you already know the words.” The crowd did not falter, and Calum came back into to finish the verse. Undying support.

I was surprised by how many fans knew all the words to the songs that hadn’t been released yet. There were, however, fan videos posted online,teasing the new music. There was so much love for the track “Valentine,” during which some fans held up red hearts. The fan favorite had to be “Jet Black Heart” because the song was originally written for 5SOS fans and during the song, you could feel the love 5SOS had for every person in the venue. 5SOS was back but had never left.

“Jet Black Heart” had a huge response but it was “Young Blood” that got everyone hyped again toward the end. Everyone was bouncing.  “Want You Back” was the perfect way to end the concert, reviving the energy and the fans’ first love off the new album. 5SOS had matured and was reveling in the new music and the response from fans. Ashton did not forgot to mention they would be back in October at SDSU performing at the Cal Coast Credit Union, and he expected everyone present to be there. I am so excited to see how much they will grow in that time.

5 Seconds of Summer could not hide the love they had for their fans. Luke was the official hype man of the band and constantly had his hands in the air inviting fans to be as loud as possible. 5SOS is unique in that they expect a lot from their fans, and their fans expect a lot from them. Some of the best moments of the concert were when the band smiled at each other, showing how strong their bond is. There was so much bromance.

Their set up was so different from 2015. It was more theatrical. There were so many different colored lights: blues, yellows and reds. The lights were very reminiscent of their “Want You Back” music video. 5SOS is not only changing their sound but they are changing how they present it to fans as well.

This is the first concert where I pulled out my phone for all of about three pictures. After I put my phone away, I really experienced the concert first hand. Up close and personal with my favorite band. It was also nice getting noticed by Michael during one of the songs. I was shouting the lyrics and he looked right at me and we were singing to each other. I felt like I was singing in the shower in my room and hitting all those notes, waving my hands and dancing. I never put my hands down once. I was so comfortable and happy. I was at home. It was an inspiring concert for me personally because I am an aspiring artist. I hope I can receive the same support as 5SOS when I make it big.

5SOS sings, in “Waste the Night” “I don’t wanna waste it, don’t wanna waste it.” This was so apparent for all the fans present on Thursday, April 26.


Dominique Torres