Philadelphia’s TLA Theater was the latest stop in a multi-city tour across the U.S. – and soon overseas as well.
by Frank Chille
I have been to many “boy band” concerts over the years; from the New Kids on the Block to the Backstreet Boys to LFO and 98 Degrees…but nothing prepared me to the screaming, hollering, and yes even fainting that occurred on Sunday, July 24 at the TLA on South Street in the heart of good ol’ Philly. In fact, the same week that the Democratic Party held their national convention the City of Brotherly Love was host to another “Brotherly Invasion”; two very good looking teens named Grayson and Ethan Dolan.
Now to understand all the excitement please understand that these 2 identical twins (16 years old and from the Garden State) have a HUGE following on YouTube (which began about 2 years ago; and when I mean huge, that is no exaggeration…their videos are viewed, and liked, in the hundreds of thousands. In fact several of the vids have reached the near one million mark).
Now I knew there was something special going on when I saw the line to get into the Dolan Twins event (“event”, because, technically, it really was not a concert). The line stretched around 3 whole city blocks. And by the look on the faces of the security guards they knew they were in for a very busy (and hectic) night of screaming girls, mostly in the 12 – 15 age range, who came out in full force to see their idols up close & in person. Several parents had mentioned to me that they had waited in line, with their kids, for over 3 hours just to get a good spot on the concert floor (unlike most venues the TLA is standing-room only).
Once inside the TLA, you could cut the excitement with a knife…”You are doing a story on the Dolan Twins?” one excited fan literally screamed at me. “Please tell Ethan that I love him!”. Another out-of-breath fan came over to me and said “Make sure you tell Grayson I’m going to marry him some day” (right; I will be more than happy to deliver the message).
Once the show started, the thunderous applause, clapping, and cheering became almost deafening. The Boys jumped out on stage and you would have thought that an earthquake hit Philly judging by the loud screams of the 800 plus young girls (and a few boys, as well). I mean, these fans are DEVOTED.
The Dolan Twins, as I mentioned, do not sing at all…that job went to a very talented musical performer named Alex Aiono, who performed half-way thru the show…but to be honest it really didn’t matter WHAT the Dolans did; they could have played checkers and the fans on the floor would have screamed their lungs out anyway.
What the brothers did do was a repeat of what they do in all of their YouTube videos; paint-ball fights, gimmicks, teasing each other, throwing out questions, and generally interacting with the fans…and those fans could not have been happier!
The “highlight” (if you want to call it that) was toward the end of the show when Ethan took off his shirt and his brother threw the garment out into the audience; I will never regain the hearing I lost at that moment from listening to the screams of 800 fanatic fans.
To be fair, the boys did make their fans happy; so who am I judge what makes a successful show?
I do need to mention that at one of the Dolan’s very first personal appearances, a near-riot almost occurred when something like 30 young girls rushed the stage to get a closer look at their idols (and several needed to be hospitalized). Luckily nothing of the sort happened at the Philly show, though I did see several girls who needed to be carried out of the building due to apparent fainting.
Overall, the boys delivered…and isn’t making the fans happy (and selling out arenas) really the name of the game anyway?