Last Wednesday, The Driver Era played the second show of their Girlfriend Tour to a sold-out crowd in Chicago, IL. After the tour was postponed due to COVID in 2020, both the band and their fans were glad to be back in each other’s company.
Los Angeles-based rock band The Wrecks opened the show, and the number of cheers in the audience signalled that they were very well-received in Chicago. They were dressed for the occasion in Chicago-branded apparel, and lead singer Nick Anderson went full out with his 90’s Chicago Bulls jersey. Through their short set, the band played a mix of singles as well as songs off their debut album Infinitely Ordinary, including “Freaking Out” and “Out of Style.” Part-way through their set, a fan threw Nick a flower crown which he wore with pride for the rest of the show. The band concluded their set with fan-favorites “Fvck Somebody” and “Favorite Liar.”
If you have never heard of The Driver Era, you may know one of their members, Ross Lynch, from Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally, and more recently as Harvey Kinkle on Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Consisting of brothers Rocky and Ross Lynch, The Driver Era began in 2018 after their former band R5 went on hiatus. For fans of R5, the Girlfriend tour is a bit of a reunion, as TDE is backed by their siblings and former members of R5, Riker, and Rydel Lynch (on keyboard and bass.)
As soon as Rocky and Ross came on stage, you could feel the pure joy emanating from the entire band as they played the first notes of “Take Me Away.” Smiles were passed between members as they began to play and Ross made his way to his piano –producing a shriek from TDE’s dedicated fan base.
It was immediately obvious that “Preacher Man,” the band’s debut single in 2018 was one of Ross’s favorites to play. He seemed to enter a different world as he put down his guitar and shook his hips, much to the crowd’s delight. I did not think the crowd could get any louder until TDE played “When You Need a Man.” I was not the only one shocked by the crowd’s engagement, as Ross said that he “didn’t realize how many people liked that song.”
One of my favorite parts of the show was a simple line from Ross after they played “Scared of Heights” and “Heart of Mine,” as he introduced himself to the audience – “I’m Austin Moon and we’re R5.” I will wholeheartedly admit that I watched Ross Lynch on television as the pop-star Austin Moon back in the day, so it was great to see that he fully embraced his past as a Disney Star rather than despising it.
The show took a turn as the lights went dark, and all eyes were on Rocky as he took the lead on stage and performed “Beautiful girl.” The crowd went wild for Rocky who tended to take a backseat to Ross’s star power, as a bra was thrown on stage (à la All Time Low vibes).
Another memorable part of the show was during “cray z babe e” when Ross once again played the piano, but not before he answered a landline phone on top of it, correlating perfectly with the ringtone that plays a prominent part in the song. The band moved on to “Nobody Knows” before playing “#1 Fan” which Ross dedicated to the crowd as “tonight this song is from me to you.” The crowd was loving it; before Ross stopped the song after he saw someone passed out in the crowd. He made sure they made it out of the crowd okay, before pleading to his fans to “drink water, stay hydrated, and have fun.”
The Driver Era ended their 20-song setlist with “Feel You Now,” and I had never heard so much high-pitched screaming for an encore. The screaming worked, and the band took the stage for their encore and final three songs “OMG Plz Don’t Come Around” and “Afterglow” before closing with “A Kiss,” as the band thanked the crowd and Ross blew them all a kiss.
It was obvious that Ross and Rocky do not take their stardom for granted, as they emoted pure joy the entire show, and were elated to be playing once again for their fans.
Catch The Driver Era on the rest of their Girlfriend tour.