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Show Review: Fitz and the Tantrums turn the ballroom into the dance floor in AZ

It takes nothing short of magic to breathe life into a hotel ballroom, usually the space for conferences, speeches, and other, well, very dry events. 

But at Fitz and the Tantrums’ show on Saturday night, the fans were on their feet and more engaged than any crowd this reviewer has seen in months. 

Beach boy Sammy Rash and his DJ were first to appear, loosening up the crowd with chill pop songs and stories about relatable moments — like when someone you’re interested in is a little too close with their ex. With his easygoing nature and total transparency (“This is my tenth show ever,” he laughed), Rash won the crowd over almost immediately. 

Not that there was anyone in the room who was skeptical. The fans were a motley crew of all ages and walks of life, but there was palpable joy and receptiveness from the moment the stage lights dimmed.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that everyone abandoned their padded conference chairs and flooded the aisles as soon as Fitz and the Tantrums took the stage. Was it that energy that bolstered the band, or was it a renewed appreciation for making and performing music? Turns out, it’s a bit of both. 

After opening with “Sway” and “Heaven,” frontman Michael Fitzpatrick thanked the crowd for helping them celebrate 15 years as a band, which is somehow both spot on and hard to believe. It was the first of a few reflections on the group’s career and finding success in life, which added another layer of uplifting takeaways. 

The remark about 15 years as a band started to ring true during the set: “Out of My League,” which Fitz cited as propelling them into the mainstream, is a decade old. And “Moneygrabber,” from the encore, is even older. But the group didn’t stick to their early material — “123456,” “I Just Wanna Shine,” and “Good Intentions” all made it onto the setlist. 

After a two-song encore, only one fan favorite was left, but Fitz first paused to tell the shortened version of his journey. He gave music a shot, had to back burner it in favor of a job, picked it up, set it down, and had plenty of setbacks along the way. But finally, in his late 30s, he started seeing traction, and the band’s biggest song came out when he was in his mid 40s. Now, at 52, he feels he’s nowhere near his ceiling. TLDR: You’re never too old to pursue your dreams. 

Fitz and the Tantrums closed, naturally, with “Handclap,” but the backstory made it more special than any amount of radio airplay. The casino may have been just down the hall from the ballroom, but it was the fans who hit the jackpot.  

Check out all the photos from the show!

Story and photos by Taylor Knauf

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