Playing a sold-out show to screaming fans and blazing lights is a dream for any rock band. Young the Giant got this star treatment in Eugene on Saturday night; they gave the audience a hypnotic and emotional show for their last stop on a two-month-long tour. The Mirror Master Tour, named after their fourth and most recent studio album, took them all over the United States performing popular oldies like “Cough Syrup” and newer hits like “Superposition.”
A diverse crowd ranging from Generation Z to adults that could have been their parents was packed shoulder-to-shoulder into the general admission floor area. This assorted group of alt-rock lovers is a testament to the effectiveness of the inclusive message that Young the Giant preaches across all of their platforms.
The opening act — or “the support,” as Young the Giant calls it — was a band of three young guys called Sure Sure. The music matched a chill, rock vibe and the band members were a funny, chatty group that made for a great juxtaposition with Young the Giant’s more serious way approaching the concert.
The beginning of Young the Giant’s performance showcased the band’s skill when it comes to rock. Opening with “Oblivion” was a good introduction because of the song’s slow build up and rock-heavy ending. Following the slow-burning vibes, “Something to Believe In” fired up the crowd — more hands flew up in the air and voices began singing along.
The highlight of the show came during the third song. “Heat of the Summer” combines the emotional side of Young the Giant with the groovier, alternative sound that made the band so popular. Found on “Mirror Master,” the song hasn’t been the success it has the potential to be. The mix of the experimental, fun sound with lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s mesmerizing dancing made this performance almost hypnotic.
While the first half of the show revolved around Young The Giant’s ability to rock, the middle of the concert represented the more emotional and human level that Young The Giant thrives on.
Unknown to many, the band has a series on Youtube called “In the Open,” in which they play alternative renditions of their songs. With millions of views on each video of the band singing and playing their popular songs in nature without any production, the band wanted to emulate this format live for their audience in Eugene. To do this, the band traded out their electric guitars for the acoustic version and kept the background music to a minimal, melodic buzz.
In the middle of the mellow portion of the set, Gadhia stopped to talk with the crowd about how surprised they were with its popularity: “What started out as something simple that we just thought was maybe a little thing we could do has become a big part of who we are, which is often times the things that are important in our lives,” Gadhia said.”
The effect this stripped-down production had on the song “Island” made the concert feel smaller, like a bunch of friends sitting around a campfire. After the song ended, Gadhia stopped to address the audience about what it means to be human:
“We try to hide that part of us that is truly unique. A part of yourself that is deep inside of us that is really natural but we fucking hate it, and we’re afraid of it to take control of everything we are. But at the end of the day, it is something that should be celebrated and something that should be shared more often,” he said.
The song “Firelight” followed this message; Gadhia asked the audience to shine their flashlights or hold up their lighters as a metaphorical way of sharing that deep part of themselves with everyone around them.
The biggest reaction from the crowd came when Young The Giant played their biggest hit “Cough Syrup” toward the latter half of their set. With just one or two notes, the audience recognized what was coming and let out screams of excitement. The song continued on while the entire crowd sang almost every lyric. Knowing the crowd could carry the song from memory, Gadhia held the microphone out to allow them to take control.
Following the high of “Cough Syrup” came the popular “Mind Over Matter,” which allowed for Gadhia to play guitar along with his bandmates. Then came the very psychedelic “Nothing’s Over,” flashing rainbow lights and a high pitched alien noise went off in the background. Gadhia picked back up with his gyrating dance moves that always seems to get the crowd going. To end the night came “Call Me Back,” an emotional plea to a lover to spare the singer and, well, call him back.
Just kidding. After five minutes of the crowd screaming in agony for Young the Giant to come back out, they finally answered the call. The encore began with the hit “Superposition” from their new album and then blended into the extremely fun “Tightrope,” where Gadhia threw on a sparkling blazer and began a dance solo where he shut his eyes and and danced all across the stage. The fun didn’t stop, but instead led into the song “Silver Tongue,” where a shirtless, masculine figure came strutting out from backstage in a beige bra to dance on Gadhia as the crowd went crazy.
To the end the show, for real this time, Young the Giant played possibly their most rock-heavy song, “My Body.” Halfway through the song, the entire opening band, Sure Sure, with others along for the tour, came on stage to close out the show — and the tour — together. The entire group on stage gave a bow, shoulder-to-shoulder like at the end of a musical, and Gadhia shouted a quick “Thank you” before they left. As he said earlier in the show, “We’re not here to talk, we’re here to rock” — and rock they did.