23 October 2007

03 October 2007

Hilary Duff in Concert

What: Hilary Duff in Concert. The Click Five opens.
When: Wednesday, August 29 2007
Where: Mohegan Sun Grandstand
Time: The Click Five, 35 minutes. Hilary Duff, 1 hour 10 minutes.
Crowd: 3,092

It’s hard to believe it was four years ago that Hilary Duff took that plunge which is inevitable of all tween icons in this day and age (especially those of whom Disney has any control) and released her first album.

When Duff, 19, returned to the State Fair for a concert (her last one was at the 2005 State Fair), one might have expected her fans to have grown up with her over the years. But instead of the attendees being over the tween age limit (the term applies to children between the ages of 8 and 12), most looked barely old enough to warrant the label.

Perhaps it is Duff’s still wholesome image and avoidance of the regular tabloid appearances that prevent her demographic from aging as she does. But she plays the part of the tween queen wonderfully, complete with a full-on light show, costume changes, background dancers and supplemental video to accompany her songs. Vendors sold glow sticks with her name printed on them. The costumes and choreography had more sex appeal than anticipated for a show geared toward such an age group, but the tweens didn’t mind. In fact, Duff seemed quite at home in her tween-dom element.

Duff performed mostly songs from her most recent album, ‘Dignity’, which premiered in April. She opened with “Play With Fire” and “Danger” and also sang “Never Stop”, “Gypsy Woman” and “With Love”. Other songs included “Come Clean” and “Someone’s Watching Over Me”. Two covers were “Our Lips Are Sealed”, a Go-Go’s song which she and sister Haylie recorded in 2004, and Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield”.

Though not without talent, her voice varied from sounding relatively common to downright meager. At times she sings as clear as a bell, at other times she’s obviously straining with an instrument that’s not up to the task at hand. Duff doesn’t possess a strong voice, but it’s a distinct one, and she moves her way from song to song without much effort. The arrangements and back-up singers managed to help her find her way through the more difficult spots, but often it seemed that the talented individuals on stage with Duff were having more fun than she was.

Opening for Duff was The Click Five, a rock band that took the stage in the snappy costumes that are almost a trademark, making them look reminiscent of the Beatles (though with slightly shaggier hair). It was clear who had attended the concert especially for the band, for they averaged five to seven years over those who came wearing Hilary Duff T-shirts.

The quintet warmed up the crowd beautifully, attracting a local following of their own and now doubt making some new fans as well. Promoting their new album ‘Modern Minds and Pastimes’, which was released in June, the band played with strong lead vocals in Kyle Patrick, who has been with the band less than a year, and an undeniable bass talent in Ethan Mentzer. The other members of the band are Joe Guese on the guitar, Ben Romans on the keyboard and Joey Zehr on the drums.

The five come together from Boston (all attended Berklee College of Music) with one hit from 2005, “Just The Girl”, under their belt and the single “Jenny” from the new album recently released. A couple of the songs sounded like one another, but for the most part the band demonstrated an irrefutable appeal, and audience members found themselves nodding their heads in time in spite of themselves. Other songs performed included “When I’m Gone”, “Empty” and the closer “Headlight Disco”.