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Friday, September 17, 2021

107.9 The End Presents Endfest

I had the pleasure of attending 107.9 The End’s Endfest in Sacramento at the Power Balance Pavilion the other week, courtesy of an Owl City representative.

Living in the Sacramento area for the duration of the school year, I can definitely say that the area has some of the best radio stations I’ve had access to ever since I took an interest in music. I’ve always heard about radio music festivals when perusing the stations in my car, but never have I ever actually purchased tickets to one.

After being contacted to do a live review of The Endfest, not only did I not realize what I was going to experience, but I also had no expectations. And believe me when I say that my jaw dropped when I saw that my seats were basically located right next to the stage. Thanks, Owl City!

I knew that the lineup went as such: Karmin, Owl City, Adam Lambert and Demi Lovato. Due to the fact that I had missed out on Demi’s performance earlier that week in San Jose, I was thrilled to be able to see her live.

The concert started at 6:30 p.m., which was strangely early for me, but when I realized the demographic in the audience was mostly 10-year-old girls, it made a little bit more sense. But then I saw a mix of 20-year-old men, the fathers of the little girls and groups of middle-aged women.

Fathers are expected, but 20-year-old men and middle-aged women? It wasn’t until I put two and two together that I had forgotten what a big fan of Adam Lambert my own mother was.

Karmin, known for her “Look At Me Now” YouTube performance as well as her radio hit “Brokenhearted,” took the stage for about 15 minutes. I had heard her song way too much at this point, but I have to say that I was impressed by her vocal talent and stage presence. The friend I had invited to go with me mentioned, “Karmin’s like a Jessie J mixed with a Nicki Minaj who can actually sing.”

With a 10-minute break in between performers, I started to work out how long this concert would actually take. I assumed that each performer was gradually allotted more time on stage, so in my head I worked out that I’d be reviewing about a two-and-a-half-hour concert. Wrong. So wrong. More on that later.

Owl City appeared with a larger band than I had expected. I was only familiar with one of his songs, “Fireflies,” from my pre-teenage years and was unaware that he was back on the radio. Apparently he has a hit song out right now with “pop sensation” (the radio’s words, definitely not mine) Carly Rae Jepsen, known for the song we all love to hate, “Call Me Maybe.”

Surprisingly Owl City added some dubstep elements to the music, and although it seemed as if some of the people on stage were there just for show and not to contribute anything to the music, the 25-minute set was entertaining. I especially enjoyed the middle-aged women sitting in front of me swaying to the music and singing along to songs I didn’t understand why they would know.

After what seemed like Christian pop, I was dying to see what Adam Lambert was going to fire back with. The sequin legging-adorned “American Idol” singer did not disappoint. Hitting notes that not even Christina Aguilera could hit, the eyelined pop diva utilized the fur carpets laid out on stage for him and delivered the tunes that all the middle-aged women screamed for. His new single “Never Close Our Eyes” was loud, catchy and pop perfection, and I can’t wait to see how he continues his music making.

At this point, the concert was nearing the two-hour mark. I have never been to a concert that lasted more than three hours, so I was okay when I realized that we would get an hour of Demi Lovato.

As the stage was being prepared for the star performer, the radio hosts showed interviews they conducted with each of the performers. And in between each of the awkward exchanges between the hosts and the celebrities, the slogan for the car giveaway they featured that night was screeched into the microphone every five seconds. Even the 12-year-old girls wanted the real performers on. Well, that, and some cotton candy.

I had high expectations for Lovato, having seen her years ago during the midst of her breakdown. It was only after she went public with her rehab that I realized the reason for her cracked voice at the first concert. However, this time she was stronger than ever.

Just because it was a radio music festival didn’t stop the headliner from performing her full concert set. Every song sounded better live, and all eyes were on her when she performed her heart-wrenching song “Skyscraper.”

After what seemed like 45 minutes, I checked my phone and realized that the concert lasted about four hours. Four hours, four performers and it was all for free? Perks of being an Arts Editor.

It was an entertaining lineup of radio-hit pop stars, and I was blown away by the night of music. Good job Sacramento, radio stations and music makers. We’re all excited for the upcoming school year’s music.

ELIZABETH ORPINA can be contacted at arts@theaggie.org.

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