by MIKE CHAIKEN
The Chainsmokers “World War Joy” tour, which stopped into the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sept. 28, enthusiastically crosses a variety of entertainment options.
With the heavy-duty pyro on stage, the show was part war movie and part Marvel comic book superhero flick.
With all of the lasers and robotic lights circling like photon torpedoes, it was like a new chapter of the “Star Wars” saga.
With the gigantic animated robotic singers flashing on the jumbo screens behind the band, we were whipped into an update of “Bladerunner.”
With the moving scaffolding and light trusses, it was like watching the construction of a skyscraper in New York City.
The motorcycle stunt riders circling in a cage turned the show into a circus meets “America’s Got Talent.”
The thumping bass synced with the blinding lights gave us an Electric Zoo EDM vibe
With the guest performers, primarily 5 Seconds of Summer and Lennon Stella, “World War Joy” was a variety show.
And oh yeah, there was music since, after all, The Chainsmokers (Drew Taggart and Alex Pall) were in town for a concert.
The production is, to put it mildly, excessive. But, given The Chainsmokers’ tour competition in 2019, like Ariana Grande and Justin Timberlake, the tour is merely keeping up with the Joneses.
The production of World War Joy all worked (in terms of entertainment value and mechanical efficacy). It kept your attention. You couldn’t help but wonder what was next and could they top what they just did.
Sometimes, the gizmos and gadgets distracted from the music. But for the most part, the group let the production take over during instrumental breaks where the music could serve as a soundtrack.
This kind of over the-top production sometimes can cause an act to get lost in the maelstrom. Australian Pink Floyd and Trans-Siberian Orchestra like it that way- the show becomes the thing.
However, the aforementioned Grande and Timberlake are more than happy to allow their considerable charisma to take them above any inanimate electronic upstarts.
The Chainsmokers were smart enough a couple of years ago when they stepped away from the traditional EDM policy of letting only guests grab the spotlight while the DJs stuck behind their electronic whatsits, enveloped in the darkness.
The Chainsmokers, as mentioned, still uses guest singers. But Taggart took up the microphone and have given the group an identifiable face and voice to go with the music. His voice gives The Chainsmokers an identifiable musical DNA from one hit to the next.
Ultimately, for the World War Joy tour, the Chainsmokers are less a musical act than a spectacle.
And fans at the Mohegan Sun loved it.
All around me were smiles, taking video grabs of the stunts, as well as singing along to their favorite tracks from The Chainsmokers, such as “Closer,” “Paris,” and “Something Like This.”
Given the packed house, the Chainsmokers clearly have struck a chord. And the World War Joy tour gives their fans a huge splashy thank you gift wrapped up in an attractive box of pyro and lasers.
5 Seconds of Summer was in an odd spot on the World War Joy tour. After a couple of headlining tours, the lads from Australia were the special guests for the evening.
Although they played an abbreviated set, they still imbued it with energy and charm. Having seen them several times over the years, its satisfying to see how tight their musicianship has become and how catchy and varied their catalogue has developed over the years.
Lennon Stella, who opened the evening, offered up a loping and appealing electronic sound. She offered a chill introduction to the evening. Her performance of her hit, “Bad,” was especially satisfying.
I give The Chainsmokers’ World War Joy tour at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sept. 28 3 ½ out of 5 stars.