Hello you beautiful people! I’m so sorry this is so late in going up! I’ve been busy with work and uni work recently. But I’ve also been really quite sick (again!) so haven’t had much of a chance to finish this piece in time. Anyway, this is my review and story from what happened at the 727 show in Cardiff.
I think we’ve all established that I’m well into my music, and attending concerts is not something I’m a stranger to. So you can probably guess what my reaction was when I got invited along to see Fifth Harmony’s 727 show in Cardiff, on the 8th of October. For those of you who are unaware of Fifth Harmony, they are an all girl group who were formed in the second season of the American X Factor in 2012. Over the past four years, the girls have toured world wide, released countless number ones and hit singles, won many awards for their fabulously sassy music videos, all while looking as beautiful as ever. Many would compare them to Little Mix, the all female group from right here in Britain. But, rest assured their genres may all reside in one main Pop genre, but they do branch out into several different sub-genres. The five gorgeous members of Fifth Harmony come together to make a unique and modern twist in the R&B/Pop genre. It is both refreshing to see more of a female dominance in the R&B area of the music industry, and to see a development in the genre thanks to the girls.
Seeing as I’d never really heard of the group until their UK number one ‘Sledgehammer’ hit radio stations nationwide, I was beyond excited to actually experience the girls perform first hand. And let me tell you, they absolutely smashed it! Their entire set was fierce, stylish, edgy and most of all it was one of the best arena concerts I’ve been to in a very long time.
The Day Before The Show
So the day before the show, I wasn’t expecting to do much with my Saturday evening. I was going to be in work all day from 9-5, I guess I was planning on having a nice relaxing bath and finish the book I was reading. Just like all the other university students out there, I was going to have a wild night with my chamomile tea. However, my plans suddenly got changed when one of my best friends Jazz messaged me rather excitedly telling me that we were to go to the 727 show together, along with fellow squad member Alysha, courtesy of one of the kindest bands / management teams I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
We knew that one of our favourite bands would be the support band for Fifth Harmony. If you saw One Direction in 2013 you may have even seen the badass lead singer Camryn, with her former band on the Take Me Home tour. To say that I was looking forward to seeing her again after three years would be the understatement of the century. I’ve been following and supporting Camryn’s music since the day I saw her perform live in 2013. She’s not only matured with her talent and expanded to a more pop punk genre, she’s also bloomed into a loving, kind, caring young woman who is probably a lot of little girls’ new idol after seeing her perform on the 727 tour. Her music hints towards feminism and all round girl power, but also encourages people to be free and happy with themselves. And I believe that message is one of the most important things for young people to hear these days.
Needless to say after coming home rather excitedly from university, I got myself prepared for the day ahead. If you think girls don’t plan, re-plan, re-re-plan and again re-plan their outfits before they go out, then you are so wrong. I had work the next day for eight hours so I decided to go for something black and white, yet funky and fun. Little did I know my dress would actually rip and I’d feel self-conscious when meeting everyone, but heck, that’s another story entirely. The girls were planning their day with Camryn and deciding what games to play for Jazz’s article for her job, and perfecting the questions for their interview with the lovely Cam. I can’t remember what time we all said goodnight, but it was probably just before my alarm was meant to go off.
The Day Of The Show
Work was really fun and super busy with everyone planning on buying their new favourite bath bombs, and learning about a new, more natural skin care routine. I told everyone the night before about the concert and the fact we were on the GUEST LISTS! And were going to meet everyone afterwards. Everyone was pretty impressed that little old me would be on a real life guest list, to see a real life band that I would meet in real life after the concert. My manager gave me a few things to give to the band so they could pamper themselves and remember for the next time they’re in Cardiff, we’d be there to give them a LUSH pre-show pamper (please tell me you saw what I did there?).
On my lunch break, I met the Guest List Squad and handed over a few extra pieces from Lush that I over bought (oops) for them to give to Camryn and her band as a thanks for them making time for us and making us feel so special and wanted. The hours seemed to fly by, everyone was in such a good mood and positive vibes were flying across Cardiff. Towards the end of my shift, lots of young girls came into the shop and wanted to get some bath bombs for a post concert bath the next day. I think I ended up getting those girls a little bit too hyped up for the concert. Their parents probably didn’t appreciate the hyper children, but the bands totally would, so I’m just considering myself as their personal hype girl now.
By the time my shift came to an end, I desperately needed to have a sit down and a large glass of water. I guess you could say I was starting to feel the lack of sleep I had the night before. But, let’s be real, nothing was ever going to cause me to not enjoy the concert. Not my tired arse, or my sore feet, or even the thought of missing a nice home cooked dinner with my family. I was ready for some live music, and a night that was going to be one of the most memorable ones yet.
Jazz, Lysha and I went to a nearby cafe just to sit and wait out the queue. Seeing as we were on the guest list, there was no point in getting all wet and cold outside just to be told where our seats were. We planned the evening in detail, we had a catch up on how Jazz and Alysha’s interview went with Camryn, spoke about our blogs and vlogs that were underway, but most of all, I was slowly getting feeling back in my feet after standing for so long. I was to record some footage of Camryn and Fifth Harmony on Jazz’s camera (which I found out was a lot nicer than mine and, I’m highly jealous), and I was going to take as many pictures / videos as possible for my very own blog and vlog. The girls were preparing to be Camryn’s very own hype squad, all they needed was a banner and some pom-pom’s and they were set!
By the time we got to the arena, we asked the lady at the box office to point us in the right direction/ give us the tickets we’d need to get into the show. This is where we all kind of panicked for a split second. The woman behind the glass screen couldn’t find anything on the guest lists. So we waited around for about ten minutes, maybe a tiny bit longer, or maybe not even that, who knows, I suck at timing things! But eventually the woman called us over and apologised for the delay…. and off we went, into the arena. I was practically bouncing up and down by this point. Things like this don’t happen to girls like me, yet there I was, on a guest list, for a major concert, with two amazing people.
Before we found our seats, Jazz and Lysha went off to find the merchandise stand while I asked for someone to guide me to where I could give the Lush Cardiff gift to the girls. After being passed around by a few people who worked at the arena, a kind security guard finally came to my help. I explained to her the situation and she immediately took out a pen and paper and took my name, where I worked, my managers names and we set off… But that’s an entirely different story. Long story short though, the girls and their managers LOVED the gifts! They were thrilled with the random act of kindness and even more thrilled that members of our team took the time to mention how beautiful they are.
When Jazz grabbed the merchandise that she wanted, the three of us set out to find our seats. I think we just liked saying the words ‘we’re on the guest list’ – we didn’t really expect to have a fantastic view, or even great seats. We were just thankful to be there. So, imagine the look of shock and surprise when we ended up about 4/5 rows from the stage! We were smack bang in the middle and honestly, it was crazy. I’ve been that close to bands before in standing concerts, sitting concerts are always a hit or miss with seating I find, but this was a practical miracle we were given. I have never felt so much gratitude as I did for the incredible people who got us on the guest list and got us into that show. They could have plonked us anywhere, but they seated us front and centre. I could not believe it.
In no time the first support act was mounting the stage. The lights went down and all the young children were practically wetting themselves with excitement. Aleem wasn’t what I expected. His style was a nice mix between drum and bass, and acoustic. Although he didn’t exactly get the entire crowd on their feet dancing, he did manage to get everyone read for the upcoming performances. Everyone was full of chatter before he came on stage, and as soon as he left, the arena was happier, calmer, yet buzzing with an incredible energy, eagerly awaiting the next act.
About fifteen minutes later, the lights dimmed and Jazz, Alysha and myself all stood screaming like maniacs. This meant one thing, and one thing only. Camryn was about to come on stage with her band. I was excited, nervous, proud. I guess you could say I was feeling everything at once. Before I knew it, I had Jazz’s camera in my hand and my media production brain was switched on. I was going to spend the entire first song recording and getting great shots of Camryn (which turned out to be just as I’d expected them to be).
Camryn came on and took the crowd by storm! She opened with one of her recent songs from her latest EP New Dynasty ‘Legends’. It was a powerful first song and a great way to warm the crowd up after a fairly chilled out set from Aleem. Her band, Austin, Justin and Ronnie, were absolutely phenomenal. They worked together on stage as if it was the last show they’d ever play. Their passion, energy and happiness was clearly displayed throughout their set. This was the first time I’d seen Camryn perform with her new band, so I was utterly impressed with how well they worked together. Camryn performed flawlessly. She spoke to the crowd as if they were her friends, and to think she’s only 17 makes me envy her confidence, talent and how humble she really is. She encouraged kindness throughout the crowd, and even waved at Jazz, which I proudly caught on camera.
When the time came to speak to the crowd, she was so thoughtful, she introduced her songs beautifully and even hinted towards feminism in what she was saying to the Cardiff crowd. Which was incredible, especially since there were a lot of younger girls in the audience, and even though Fifth Harmony’s Lauren does promote feminism and equality, Camryn could relay the message in a more ‘down with the kids’ kind of way. Which is so, so, so important. Especially these days with constant hate crimes taking place across the world.
The band worked together and became the songs, the lyrics, the music on stage. I know that sounds bizarre, but their movement represented every single aspect of the songs they were performing. It’s like they were everything they were performing. And to me, I’ve only ever seen that with a few bands, and that was amazing to see. Overall, Camryn and her band had one of the most enjoyable sets. Their kindness flooded through the room, and their passion for what they were doing was evident. It was a proud moment for me, to see Camryn, this amazing young woman and think of how far she’s grown, developed, and honed into her talent even more. I’m so convinced we will all be seeing more of Camryn in the near future.
Her style very much fits in with the pop punk genre, and I can most definitely see her touring with the likes of 5 Seconds of Summer, Hey Violet, The Tide, The Vamps and so many others. Her music is fun and quirky, but has a great underlining message of strength and feminism for her younger audience. I really do hope Hi Or Hey records will sign her up and help her create a full album that will blow my mind.
It was a sad feeling we all had when our girl Camryn left the stage, but before she left she announced that she would be meeting fans in the foyer during the short interval before Fifth Harmony hit the stage. So that was our cue, Jazz, Alysha and I grabbed our things and headed towards the foyer. The girls wanted me to meet Camryn and have my own time with her, just like they had. They told her that they’d bring me with them to see her during that interval, and that was that. So off we went, to finally meet Camryn! I was very much excited.
We originally joined the queue with the rest of Camryn’s fans when we got to the foyer. We were so thrilled to be around people who had just fallen in love with Camryn just as we had many years ago. We even heard a father ask his daughter ‘so you want to dye your hair blue to be like her??’ and the little girl who couldn’t have been older than 7 replied with ‘YES! CAN I DAD?’ the father chuckled and said that they shall see when she’s a bit older. That was one of the cutest things we’ve ever seen.
Finally Camryn came out with her manager Leslie, and the queue’s vibe suddenly became charged up with an electric buzz. Fans of all ages were queueing to meet this incredible young lady. Leslie noticed us and beckoned us over to wait with her. I finally got to meet her and she thanked me for the Lush goodies I’d given the girls to give to Camryn earlier that day. She embraced me in a warm hug as if we were long-lost friends. It was incredible. We were introduced to other members of Team Camryn and they also embraced us in a warm hug. I loved the fact that they were so big on hugs. It was absolutely lovely to have that kind of friendship already with them. As we watched fans come and go in the meet and greet with Camryn, we saw lots of younger girls skipping away with their mums and dads, completely content after meeting their new hero. It was the cutest thing to ever be seen. It actually got me slightly emotional, to think that we were all one day those girls that has just found someone they could look up to. I was proud that these girls had Camryn to look up to as she’s grown and matured into this incredible young woman. I couldn’t have been prouder.
One moment during the meet and greet that will forever stay with me, and that really captures who Camryn is as a person was when a blind man met her. He and Camryn were talking and not once did she break eye contact with him. She treated him just as everyone else she’d seen that night. They spoke and spoke and it was humbling to see. She asked if he wanted an autographed picture, no worries if not, but the offer was there. He eagerly asked if that would be okay, and she made sure he had it. They spoke about music, and how good it feels. And that’s what I’ll always remember from that night. This 17 year old girl having so much compassion and respect for other human beings, it was one of the kindest and most genuine conversations I’ve ever witnessed. And I honestly can’t tell you how important that moment was for everyone.
Finally after everyone had their chance meeting Camryn, the fans had all said their goodbyes and rushed off back to the main hall to await Fifth Harmony’s arrival. Camryn came over to us with a huge smile and warm hugs (again with the hugs, my life was complete) and utter kindness. She thanked me for the small things I’d given her and embraced me in a beautiful hug. We got talking about the show, how she found it, how we found it and so on. We were talking with her for such a long time and she had all the time in the world for us. We showed her a few pictures we’d taken and she loved them. Jazz asked how the band were and how they found the show in Cardiff. I believe it was the bands first time playing in Wales, so we were eager to find out what they thought of our beautiful city. Then it got suggested that we meet them all after the show and find out for ourselves. Now at this point, my heart stopped and I thought actual pee was going to start coming from my body. I can’t really speak for the girls, but I think they were probably in the same state of mind as I was. In unison we nodded our heads and said ‘yes please!’ which sealed the deal. We were going to meet everyone after the show.
All too suddenly it felt like we had to go back to the main hall as Fifth Harmony were about to take to the stage. But not before Alysha quickly asked Camryn if I could have a picture with her as I missed out on meeting her earlier that day. Camryn didn’t even hesitate, she walked next to me and we had our moment. She hugged me again and thanked me once more for her goodies. It was one of the most genuine moments I’ve ever experienced. Before we knew it, we were all saying ‘see you later’s’ and heading back to the main hall. From the next room, the crowd was beginning to go crazy, which only meant one thing… 727 had finally arrived in Cardiff.
Fifth Harmony’s Show.
The girls came on in their fierce outfits and the crowd went utterly mental. The screams, the thunderous applause, the energy the room was filled with, it was incredible. We rushed back to our seats and suddenly everything seemed real.
Fifth Harmony came on and they looked utterly stunning. Their confidence came through straight away as they began their set. The presence the girls had on stage was mesmerising, I honestly couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I believe they opened with ‘That’s My Girl’. From the very beginning, this concert was going to be different from many others. The energy was more electrifying and empowering. And it was only just beginning.
During their second or third song, out of nowhere came these huge, gigantic beach balls that were launched straight into the crowd. I was laughing like a five year old by this, it brought me so much joy just to have that element of fun brought to us in the crowd. That was until they hit myself and Jazz in the face multiple times! But none the less, it was hilarious. Lauren had one thrown back to her on stage, and she kicked it back to the crowd in the most majestic way I have ever seen before. The poor people at the front must have been fearing for their lives! It was both terrifying to have giant balls fly at us, but also hugely entertaining for all of us. Even if you were a 30-40 something parent with a young child, you were probably giggling to yourself while the balls were bouncing around the hall.
When the excitement from the big balls died down, the girls proceeded to sing ‘Sledgehammer’ which was their first ever UK number one hit. Even if you didn’t know who the heck Fifth Harmony were, if you’ve ever been online, listening to the radio, watching TV and so on, you’ve most probably heard this song. Even the parents were getting involved and singing along to this catchy tune. The girls didn’t rely on costume changes at all to make the show perfect. They were there with their raw talent and charisma and that’s what their fans wanted to see. They each looked absolutely stunning and I cannot get over how even more beautiful they are in person. Camila, Lauren, Normani, Ally and Dinah didn’t need elaborate outfits or tons of backing dancers. They themselves were enough to entertain the entire crowd.
It saddened me that Lauren had received online hate a few days prior to the concert regarding her personal opinion on the current American Election. This educated young lady was just passing on a fact for her fans that may or may not be aware of other candidates surrounding the Election. Not just that, but she also encourages feminism, strength, kindness, and peace to all. I couldn’t get my head wrapped around the fact that this beautifully educated lady was getting so much hate. But in that moment, I realised that it didn’t matter. She was way above any of the online trolls. She was performing with four of her closest friends all across the globe, to billions of fans world wide. Her message will always be spread so long as we are out there, listening and willing to learn from her. And that’s what she aspires for, to keep her fans educated and to promote equality and kindness across the world. Something that is so in her power to do. And something the online trolls don’t have the power to do, sadly for them.
The friendship that was shown on stage was so pure. Lauren tickled Normani and made her chuckle on several occasions, which I absolutely adored seeing. It was beyond cute. It made them seem more human, more real to me. I imagined that they might possibly have been nervous before the show, so they took it upon themselves to make each other feel better and comforted. During their song ‘Squeeze’ Camila and Dinah both hugged each other in an adorable ‘squeeze’, which showed just how loved those girls are by each other. It warmed my heart seeing them happy together. It wasn’t just put on for show. What you saw with them was what you got. And that was something so genuine, a lot of bands and groups have lost that these days.
One of the things I loved the most about the show itself was that the girls gave their band a chance to shine. The lead guitarist playing for Fifth Harmony (whom I don’t know the name of) was slaying the stage! She had one of the most epic guitar solos I’ve ever seen. Her talent was off the scale! The crowd absolutely loved her! All that mattered in that show was the music. It wasn’t who looked the sexiest, or who sounded the best, who danced the worst etc, it was purely about the music. And that’s something I utterly loved.
When the girls spoke to the crowd, they were talking to their equals. They saw each and every one of us as a person, not just as another concert ticket. They spoke about out city, our culture, and I even found out that the Welsh flag they produced on stage, was given to them by a friend of mine! How rad is that?! They made everyone feel so special and even included members of the audience in subtle ways. My friend, Elin, said that during her meet and greet with the girls, she asked them how they found Wales/ Cardiff, and Lauren found out that Wales was a country by itself, and Cardiff was its capitol city. I thought that was hilarious, but Lauren and the girls were so eager to learn more. I hope the next time they come here they’d be able to roam around our city a bit more. A lot of people come here and say the usual things like ‘it’s a beautiful city’, ‘you guys rock’, but these girls, they complimented our culture, us, and their new found knowledge on our country.
The set on stage was minimalistic. Simple yet effective. As I mentioned earlier, they really don’t need a lot going on around them to keep a crowd entertained. They had their band and themselves and honestly, that was enough to keep every single member of the audience’s eyes glued to them. It’s something I haven’t seen in a long time. Especially with pop/ R&B groups. Those girls have such a strong bond that their friendship is inspiring.Their movements on stage were basic, yet flawless. Their attitudes, passion and love for each other, the band, their music, their fans… it was so evident. I honestly can’t express how talented those girls are. The message of empowerment and friendship they have as a group was undeniable. I’m so honoured to have gotten the chance to actually see them perform live. I’m very much looking forward to the time when I can see them again and enjoy it all over!
Overall, Fifth Harmony were not what I was expecting. They were so much better. And I had really high standards going into the concert. They blew me away with their talent and charisma. I feel like in the hours I was in the arena watching Camila, Dinah, Normani, Lauren and Ally I learnt more about them as individual people. I feel like as a fan, I’ve grown more attached to them. I’m just so excited for them and to see what the future holds for them all. I know Camila has been doing solo projects with other artists, but she keeps going back to her girls and that shows that they’re all comfortable with each other and want their friends to expand and develop their talents. I’d really love to spend a day with them and get to know them on a personal level. They seem like they’d really understand me and even though they are utterly gorgeous, I wouldn’t feel out of place next to them. Maybe one day I’ll get to have that. Until then, I can only support them from my small town in South Wales and hope that they come back in the future and slay me once more.
Meeting The Band.
While the show was ending, the girls and I slipped away from the main hall and Fifth Harmony so we could finally meet the band and round-up our incredible evening. Well, for Jazz and Alysha it would wrap up their incredible day with Camryn in Cardiff.
We got to meet the band outside the arena, next to their tour bus. This was easier for all of us as the band hadn’t long finished packing things away, and we didn’t have far to go from inside the arena. It was so lovely to actually be able to talk to them. The first band members we met were Austin and Justin McCarthy. We were greeted with more huge smiles and warm embraces (my life was most definitely complete by now) and they immediately asked if we’d enjoyed ourselves. They were so humble and so interested in what we had to say about their performance as well as Fifth Harmony’s it was just amazing. I felt like we were old friends talking about random things, having a bit of a catch up. I took some great snaps of Jazz, Alysha, Austin and Justin – it looked as if we were all mates on a night out around the town. Before anyone asks or wonders why I didn’t have pictures with them, I was honestly so tired and felt like my face had melted off in the warm arena. But that just means I have to take some next time they’re here. It’s the law.
Austin and Alysha got talking about Lysha’s musical talents and both he and Justin encouraged her to have more confidence and be proud of playing five (YES FIVE!) musical instruments. I can definitely say that they were taken aback that she was beyond talented, but Austin was most definitely impressed with her enthusiasm for making music.
We spoke about Jazz and her writing, and how her interview with Camryn went. They were so encouraging and asked more about her work. It was honestly so nice to have that time with them. Jazz informed them on her change of work place, her reason for leaving and just chatting in general about life and what was happening with her. Jazz then dragged my modest arse into the conversation saying about how I recorded some footage for her vlog and captured some decent pictures of the band. Austin almost instantly was at my side looking through the photographs I took on my iPod. He asked for us to send them over so they could retweet them, I mean, no big deal (I was in fact freaking out at this point). He asked if I liked photography and videography and I told him about my studies at the university which was literally opposite us, and about how I make YouTube videos in my spare time. He and Justin were very enthusiastic and encouraging and said that if that’s what I really want to do, then I’ll get there in the end. It meant a lot to have them say that. It made me feel validated and that I wasn’t just aspiring for an impossible dream.
About five/ten minutes later, Ronnie came out and again, we were greeted with a warm smile and a huge friendly hug. He and Lysha got talking about the bass instantly and they entered their own world of bass guitars, leaving me and Jazz standing there wondering what the heck they were on about.
After a while Ronnie headed back to the tour bus to put his things away. Lysha had to leave to get the train home, so we all said our final goodbyes to her and the guys left her with huge loving hugs and well wishes, and reminders to stay in touch. By this time we’d found out that Camryn was in the arena taking a test for her college work. So we told the reminding lads to tell her we wished her well and to see her again very, very soon. Before they left to shower and freshen up and have a nice relaxing chill after a show, Austin and Justin hugged us goodbye and told us to stay in touch. And of course to send them the pictures we’d captured during the show! When they said ‘see ya soon Lily’ I honestly couldn’t believe it. It was really real. That night had happened. I was friends with these people now. I couldn’t get my head wrapped around it.
Shortly after our goodbyes to the boys Jazz and I left to go sit down and reflect on the events that day/ night. Jazz and I closed her vlog with some last minute opinion giving and well wishes to everyone we’d met that day. It was lovely to spend that time with Jazz and to really take in what had happened that night. Things like this don’t usually happen to girls like me. But they really did, because it was happening to me. And I realised that with friends like Lysha and Jazz by my side, life was so much better and opportunities were around every single corner.
The show hadn’t just made me appreciate live music even more, or the bands themselves. It made me appreciate my friendships, my strength, the fact that my life was going well and I was happy. My future was in my hands, and if I had anything to do with it, I wanted more nights like this one.
Would I say Fifth Harmony are ‘Worth It’? I most definitely would! If you’ve never given them a chance, I encourage you to head to YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Google Music etc, and listen to them. They really did blow my mind and my expectations for the concert.
Camryn and her band are so incredibly special and humble. It was such an honour to meet such kind and caring people, and to consider them now as friends. I loved every second I spent with those guys and honestly, I would never have changed my experiences that nice for anything.
So sadly, that’s the end of anything interesting that happened that day/night. If anyone wondered what happened when I got home – I ate and went to sleep like the hardcore twenty year old that I am. But even two weeks after, I’m still in complete awe of Fifth Harmony, Camryn and her band. Even though I’m sick and have been for a few weeks now, I’m still reliving that night in my head and it’s honestly one of the things that’s making me smile the most. I am so proud of them all and I’m so excited for what the future will bring each and every one of them.
I guess that’s where I will leave things off for today. If any of you have seen Fifth Harmony or Camryn live before, let me know in the comments below! Or if you were at the Cardiff gig, let me know!
Until next time, have an awfully big adventure!