Thousands of teens and adults flocked to HSBC Arena Monday night for Kissmas Bash, one of the most anticipated concerts of the year. With a lineup featuring Austin Mahone, Sean Kingston, Megan and Liz, Boys Like Girls, Owl City, Ed Sheeran and Phillip Phillips, it's no surprise that it was a sold-out show.
"American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips took the stage as the crowd settled in for a long night of music. His low-key, humble vibe was met by screams from the adoring audience. His cover of "Lose Yourself" by Eminem was adapted perfectly to his guitar and voice. His highly anticipated finale and hit song "Home" was the highlight of the performance.
Rising pop stars Megan and Liz took the stage next, igniting the crowd with their impressive dancing and visual effects. The dynamic duo, introducing themselves as "twins" amidst giggles, seemed in awe of their fans. They sang a few of their YouTube hits including "Happy Never After" and finished their performance with their new single, "Bad For Me."
Owl City, an electronic group led by Adam Young, took the stage next and delivered an inspiring performance. Young's voice projected throughout the arena, so even those sitting far away could hear every word. The band's hit songs, "Fireflies" and "Good Time," had everyone in the audience singing and dancing along to the music.
Austin Mahone, a 16-year-old YouTube sensation, took the stage to the deafening screams of his "Mahomies." Mahone delivered an impressive performance complete with choreographed dances with his backup dancers. His finale of his new single, "Say You're Just a Friend," was met with more screams from the adoring teens and even some parents.
Ed Sheeran, a Grammy-nominated artist, played next. Sheeran's rendition of "The A-team" moved some audience members to tears. The sight of the darkened arena, lit only by cellphone lights, added to the emotional atmosphere of the song. The audience clearly knew the song and hung onto every word.
Boys Like Girls, a rock band complete with leather jackets and muscle shirts, played the next set. The audience sang along to the band's hit songs "Hero/Heroine," "The Great Escape" and "Life of the Party." Then, in a twist, they brought Meg back on stage to sing the duet "Two is Better than One." For their finale "Love Drunk," lead singer Marty Johnson asked the crowd if they could have "three and a half minutes of old-school rock and roll." The audience obliged, standing up on chairs and putting away their electronics. Everyone was dancing, and the arena seemingly came alive.
To wrap up the concert, Sean Kingston pleased the lively crowd with his hit songs "Take You There" and "Letting Go." Kingston surely knew how to win over the ladies, as he commented that "you're all beautiful tonight" to segue into his song "Beautiful Girls." During "Fire Burning," the final song of the night, blue and white balloons were released from above onto the stage.
Overall, the concert was as amazing as it has been in previous years. It certainly lived up to the hype. The lyrics were meaningful and the performances were unique and fresh. I couldn't think of a better way to spend an evening in downtown Buffalo.