Excitement and anticipation rang through Jiffy Lube Live as small silhouettes and handprints pressed against the 5 Seconds of Summer banner that covered the set. The banner waved in the wind, as if it, too, could not handle the moments ahead of when the Australian band would take the stage. 

Suddenly, lights flashed behind the banner. Four distinct silhouettes appeared and the venue erupted in shrieks. 

5SOS performed an outstanding, silly and, personally, nostalgic show in Bristow, Virginia on Aug. 18. Accompanying them was all-girl pop-punk band Meet Me @ The Altar. 

Although this was my first time listening to Meet Me @ The Altar, it certainly will not be my last. The trio had an engaging stage presence, despite the small space they had to perform. You could feel their grace, gratitude and excitement to be there. The group performed a handful of original songs with some covers sprinkled in. They make me excited for the future of punk music, and I cannot wait to see them again.

Meet Me @ The Altar’s performance kept the crowd tied over until an informative and goofy safety sketch starring 5SOS played on the screens beside the stage, reminding concert goers to be kind to one another. This glimpse of 5SOS caused a ripple of restlessness as the crowd’s  anticipation grew. 

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The band’s entrance happened so fast—I did not even realize I was holding my breath. Seeing them come onto the stage was like a breath of air that brought life back into the arena. 

The lengthy performance featured a wide range of songs from all five 5SOS albums, giving fans new and old something they could look forward to at the show. It was invigorating to try and guess what they’ll play next, and 5SOS even gave the audience a chance to have a say in one of the songs. A huge die fell into the crowd with popular 5SOS songs on it. If the die did not reach the stage before the time ran out, then 5SOS would choose what came next. With these high stakes, the pit was forced to work together in rushing the die forward until it landed on the stage on “If You Don’t Know” from their 2014 EP Don’t Stop

5 Seconds of Summer performs at Jiffy Lube Live on Aug. 18, 2023. (Taneen Momeni/The Diamondback)

This was not the end of audience interactions. Ashton Irwin had a lengthy drum solo that was a battle between him and the audience, either having the audience try to clap in a synchronized beat or to scream as loud as his playing. Despite our best effort, the audience did lose, and we were “sauced” for our punishment. The band brought out ketchup and mustard dispensers that caused confetti cannons to explode. This spectacle emphasized Irwin’s percussion talent, as is showcased by his ability to play the drums the entire time, in addition to a lengthy battle and solo midway through the concert. His brilliance was so inspirational that it made me, someone who has had virtually no experience in percussion, want to learn how to play the drums. 

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Soon after guitarist Michael Clifford chatted and thanked the crowd, the audience chanted for “500 Years of Winter – Pizza Song,” a deepcut 40-second song from the 2014 B-sides EP She Looks So Perfect. The band graciously gave in, despite initially not planning to perform it. This interaction between 5SOS and the audience summed up the energy of the whole show, with the band being consistently thankful and interactive with the fans. To further exhibit their gratitude, each member had their own time to speak to the crowd. They each reminisced on the last time they visited the venue or thanked everyone for attending, regardless of how long each audience member had been a fan. 

Fans reach for confetti as it flies around Jiffy Lube Live on Aug. 18, 2023. (Taneen Momeni/The Diamondback)

I have to admit: I saw 5SOS when they opened for One Direction many years ago. It has been amazing to see their artistry and the whimsical bits they continue to bring to their shows years later. This concert sent me back to 2015 in the best way possible, and I am parting my hair to the side as we speak.