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Show Review: The Chainsmokers are non-stop theatrical for Phoenix arena show

Motorcyclists, confetti, and flaming drumsticks, oh my! Those are just some of the theatrics that made the World War Joy Tour a modern day circus featuring The Chainsmokers, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Lennon Stella. The joyride stopped through Phoenix over the weekend, drawing everyone from families with small children to the glittery rave crowd. 


That’s what happens when you put a pop soloist, a pop/rock band, and a DJ duo on the same bill. Even television fans were appeased with Lennon Stella, who starred in ABC’s Nashville with her sister Maisy before pursuing music full time. Now almost two years into a solo career, she’s promoting last year’s Love, me EP and singles released over the past few months. She kept it simple with her live band in the shadows, swaggering around the stage as colors faded in and out on the screens behind her. 


And though the crowd certainly appreciated the pop jams, it’s hard to top the (painfully stereotypical) boy band craziness, which erupted with full force when 5SOS took the stage. Opening with “She Looks So Perfect,” the Australian four-piece leaned into the hype and had their fans sing with them, phone flashlights in the air. Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood, Ashton Irwin, and Michael Clifford took their turns in the spotlight and on the catwalk, and the screaming never stopped. It was only fitting that the madness began early before the fire cannons started.  


Say what you want about why The Chainsmokers are so extra when they perform live, but they do it big and it’s hard to not get swept up in the fun. Drew Taggart, Alex Pall, and their drummer Matt McGuire emerged with torches before assuming their positions at the DJ tables and drum set, and the spectacle began. While Pall manned the table, Taggart ran up and down the catwalk as he sang and timed exaggerated jumps with the fire and smoke cannons.

Not an act for a one-level show, The Chainsmokers had multiple suspended platforms to literally raise their performance (almost) to the roof. McGuire even got an in-air solo with flaming sticks. But the true kicker was the spherical cage that Taggart first ran circles in but then featured motorcyclists riding round and round the inside. During stage changes, the guys talked about all the special artists they’ve gotten to work with, and they thanked their collaborators and fans. And though they went all-out for their final song—”Closer,” naturally—the mania didn’t end there. The Chainsmokers had to jet in time for their next set…in Vegas. But they promised to continue the party in Old Town Scottsdale next time they visit Arizona. 

Check out more photos from the show!
Story and photos by Taylor Gilliam