By: Evelyn Salazar
Bring on the nostalgia!
Saturday, June 15, 2019, Salt Lake City was blessed with the appearance of the sister, pop- duo Aly & AJ. Fans of all ages anxiously waited outside The Complex hours before doors opened, so they could snag a good spot. The iconic sister duo came back from a 10-year hiatus from music last year, and just released their new EP Sanctuary last month. For a lot of fans, this would be their first time seeing the girls live because of their 10 year break. It was amazing to see young kids to grown adults in line. If you were a Disney Channel kid like I was, then you know just how amazing Aly & AJ are! They were a huge part of my childhood, with their catchy songs and unforgettable music videos that would play during commercial breaks. When I think of them, it takes me back to simpler days in the 2000’s era. They remind me of summer breaks and my pre-teen bedroom, covered in posters from those teen magazines! So I was excited to hear them perform live too!
Doors opened and the venue flooded with fans as they ran towards the barricade, while some headed straight to the merch table. Then, it happened. The lights shut off and the stage lit up with deep, purple lights. All you could see were the silhouettes of the band members getting into their positions. The crowd was screaming in excitement, waiting to see Aly and AJ appear. Their band members on stage started a slow clap that fans joined in on, building up the hype! And before you knew it, CLAP, the stage fully lit up with the sisters standing there in the spotlight. They were wearing matching outfits, a stylish trench coat with a belt around the waist and black tights styled with some boots. The fact that they were matching was very visually appealing, they already look alike, being sisters after all, and the outfits visually connects the two to each other.
From the moment they started singing to the last song, the vibes inside The Complex were serene. Aly & AJ’s stage presence and set up was mesmerizing. They had a giant disco ball hanging above them that created stunning, star-like effects. The LED, color changing poles across the stage set the mood for each song. Warm tones and slow in and out glows created a calm atmosphere during slower songs, it felt magical. During their hardcore, upbeat songs the lights flashed along to the music, getting the crowd pumped even more! They had a well-mixed setlist, with some of their older fan favorites, along with their new, matured style. Longtime fan, Chloé Kirkman, 27, said, “I love Aly & AJ’s musical evolution. They were able to seamlessly blend their most notable hits with their new style; complete with an electrifying stage presence to keep the energy flowing!” And she was right, the energy never died down. The girls brought their all to the stage, playing their instruments so passionately and dancing around. It was fun to watch them play off of each other’s energy.
This tour wasn’t just about making a comeback for the girls, it was a lot bigger than that. The tour was in support of The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to helping at-risk queer youth. Something really special about Aly and AJ is you can easily tell just how passionate they are. Not just with their music but also with the care they have for their fans. During mid-show, they took a moment to talk about the importance of giving back and being kind. They explained The Trevor Project and gave love to the LGBTQ+ community and had everyone take out their cellphones to sign a petition to ban conversion therapy. That was a very special moment because you realize they can recognize their large platform, and use it for good. Big fan, Jack Brannelly, 18, stated, “it was a childhood dream come true, I’ve loved their music since I was 7 years old and their new stuff has been so much better. I also loved to see artists that I grew up with showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community in such an effective way. True allies.”
Aly and AJ brought so many emotions to the stage and those emotions echoed to the crowd. The entire venue felt connected, as everyone was singing aloud the words to their favorite A&A
songs. Especially when they performed their iconic hit “Chemicals React”, which is a major throwback, everyone still sang every word as if it was released yesterday. Sam Reynoso, 22, said, “It was such a surreal experience to see some of my childhood icons live and be part of that magic!”
I definitely feel like The Complex’s smaller Grand stage was a perfect venue choice for such an interpersonal performance. Not too big, not too small, just right. Fans at the front of the barricade jumped along to every song and fans towards the back danced around with friends. It was a beautiful show filled with a ton of love and the girls could see that from the stage. They explained how they hadn’t been to Salt Lake in over a decade, and that they’re definitely going to keep coming back now. Overall, it was a magical, colorful night that felt safe and familiar. The nostalgia was welcoming, and Aly and AJ are a dream to experience. Their shows are a true sanctuary.