SARATOGA SPRINGS — The screams of the young fans at times drowned out the singers at the Fly 92.3 Summer Jam concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Saturday as pop artists, old and new, played to a packed crowd — only the second in the venue’s summer concert series.
The show headliner and clear crowd favorite was Big Time Rush, a band that found success on a Nickelodeon show and has since launched into mainstream success. The cries of the mostly female crowd, whose average age hovered in the young teens, were piercing for several of Big Time Rush’s hits such as “Boyfriend,” “Til I forget about you” and “The City is Ours.”
If the teen and “tween” screams were not enough to indicate Big Time Rush was the crowd’s main focus, their CDs and T-shirts were the first to sell out, according to vendors at the event. The line to have autographs signed was populated by several hundred people and stretched from the Charlie Springs Gate in the northeast corner of SPAC to more than 100 yards past the concession area.
Leading up to Big Time Rush was Jason Derülo, whose dance moves and R&B hits like “Watcha Say,” “In My Head” and “Riding Solo” got the crowd cheering. They swooned over a cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Bringing Sexy Back.”
Derülo had no stage props, which was probably a good thing because with his seven dancers, he played from one end of the stage to the other and left the crowd wanting more.
The electro-hop duo LMFAO was only half at the show, since one of the two DJ rappers in the group, SkyBlu, was absent, although the crowd did not seem to notice.
LMFAO also employed several dancers and props to entertain the crowd. Their act was seemingly geared toward an older crowd than the one that packed SPAC Saturday (their name is an acronym for a phrase involving not one, but two profanities) as they urged members of the crowd to raise their drinks into the air, but most were probably closer in age to raising a baby bottle than a beer bottle.
Vanilla Ice had no such delusions about the age of the crowd, as evidenced by the statement that drew perhaps the most cheers of his act: “I’m friends with Justin Bieber.”
Vanilla Ice is best known for his early ’90s hit “Ice Ice Baby,” which he played after the theme song to one of the ’90s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, “Ninja Rap.”
Though his name on the ticket seemed like a joke at first, Vanilla Ice’s set clearly entertained the crowd and even had some of the parents dancing in the aisles. He drew people in from the lawn, and the ampitheater was more full when he left the stage than when he came on.
Other acts in the six-hour show included Shaggy, Runner Runner, The Ready Set and Secondhand Serenade.
One security guard who has been working the Summer Jam for years at the venue said, “There weren’t nearly this many people here last year,” which shows the niche the show seems to have found.
Last year’s act featured comparable bands, but was geared toward hip-hop and R&B. This year, the focus was on the Nickelodeon crowd.
In addition to the acts, there were jumping stations for teens and jump houses for the younger kids. The average age at the show was probably 13, and that is taking into account the number of parents accompanying their children, which there were certainly enough of to fill a jump house