Back in December the Seattle Seahawks set a record for the loudest outdoor sports stadium recording 137.6 decibels of noise.
To call the noise emanating from the mostly teen girls filling nearly every seat deafening would be an understatement. For those in the audience — particularly the older parents among us — the ringing in your ears from the high-pitched squeals is likely to stick around a day or two.
Lovato, a former Disney star, and her opening acts — "The X Factor" U.S. girl groupFifth Harmonyand "X-Factor" U.K. girl-group champsLittle Mix— had the arena rocking long before any of them took the stage for what is easily the second biggest teen concert in Arizona this year. (One Direction, another "X Factor" U.K. product, will be the biggest when they play University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale in September.)
There was plenty to scream about and for:
• Lovato's arsenal included the high-voltage dance songs "Heart Attack," "Skyscraper," "Give Your Heart A Break" and the tour's namesake "Neon Lights," pulled from the 21-year-old superstar's four chart-topping albums. She provided the concert's biggest highlight when her Twitter followers in the audience — she has 21 million and counting — tapped into a special app during the song "Neon Lights" then raised their phones in the air as a bright white light blinked in time to the song.
The screams were a notch or two quieter when she sang the piano ballad "Nightingale" and the empowering ballad "Warrior," but she had barely had the opening lyrics of "Let It Go" from the Disney flick "Frozen" out when the screams hit a new high. And throughout her 75-minute show, the cavernous arena filled with a near flawless chorus of thousands as Lovato's fans sang along. Several times the singer, who admitted early on to being under the weather, just gave them the chorus and sat back smiling and listened.
• Little Mix may not be as well known to American audiences, but they certainly had more fans than they expected at the Glendale concert. At one point, Leigh-Anne Pinnock looked out at the fans singing along to "Wings" and told the audience she was surprised at how many of them knew the lyrics.
Judging by the response to their R&B/hip-hop rocking set complete with some pretty impressive choreography and a cast of four buffed male dancers, their American fan base widened. In addition to their original hits including "Little Me," the girls did sexy covers of "Bootylicious" and "Word Up" — the latter which I like to think was a gift to the 40-something parents in the audience who remember when Cameo had a No. 1 hit with the song in 1986.
• Fifth Harmony kicked things off as the first act of the night and set the scream bar high. There is something infectious about the five girls — they range in age from 16 to 20 — and their poppy tunes including "Miss Movin' On," "Me and My Girls" and "Better Together." Like Little Mix, the girls performed along to a recorded music track, which gave them more room on the stage to show off some commendable choreography. The only complaint: It would have been nice to see more of them.
Combine all of that with some impressive neon and laser lighting, too-hip-for-primetime teen magician Collins Key dazzling with his illusions between acts and a pretty top-notch teen DJ in Cole Plante and you had a show that was worth the $17.50 per ticket Ticketmaster surcharge.