The Biggest Holiday Party was a hit with Chicago fans.For the third year in a row it was announced that the 2017 edition of the B96 Pepsi Jingle Bash was sold out. The Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL was packed to the rafters with fans chanting for their favorite artist even before the show officially began.
This year’s Jingle Bash made some slight changes to the stage, no longer was there a Pepsi branding banner placed behind the performers. Instead in its place were new LED screens that displayed stunning visuals pertaining to each artist.
Kicking off “The Biggest Holiday Party” was the “American Teen” and Grammy nominated, Khalid. This was my first time seeing Khalid live, the “Location” singer brings a ton of energy and choreographed dance moves (including cheerleader dancers) to his set. Before performing the single that put him on the map (and billboard charts), he spoke to the crowd and declared “this song changed my life forever” before going into the chart topping Location.
Khalid didn’t come alone either as he brought out the helmet wearing Marshmello. The duo would perform Silence before Khalid closed his set with his latest single Young Dumb & Broke.
Next up, was Disney Channel alumnae and pop star on the rise, Sabrina Carpenter. The “Girl Meets World” star hit the stage to a nice ovation and opened with Feels Like Loneliness. During her performance of Thumbs, she had the entire arena twiddling their thumbs and jumping up and down in their seats. It also should be noted that Carpenter would be the only Jingle Bash artist to perform a Christmas song – the song being in “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”.
Fifth Harmony returned to Jingle Bash for a second year, minus one member. The Chicago crowd went nuts when the ladies hit the stage. Fifth Harmony’s performance included all the crowd favorites, meaning it was hit after hit. Opening with Worth It, then going straight into He Like That – there was no time for the audience to catch a breather.
Dinah, Normani, Lauren and Ally conquered the stage with their stage presence, not to mention their strong vocals backed by a live band. The roof of the Allstate Arena almost came unglued when Fifth Harmony played the opening notes of Work From Home to close their set.
The sole Hip Hop (and another Grammy nominated) artist on the Jingle Bash lineup was Logic, who also had the shortest set out of all the lineup, but this didn’t stop Bobby Tarantino from having the audience in the palm of his hand. Logic exploded onto the stage with Fade Away from his 2015’s The Incredible True Story.
Logic would take a moment in his set to shoot an imaginary basketball to a fan (who also made an imaginary hoop) in the crowd, that led into the Flexicution. Before his set concluded with the only song the Jingle Bash crowd seemed to know, Logic asked for the people to hold up their phones to light up the arena as he performed 1-800-273-8255.
Logic is a genius for creating such a song that deals with many struggles that people deal with on daily basis – that being depression and thoughts of suicide and turned it into a catchy, yet informative pop/rap track.
After finishing his set, the “Peace, Love, & Positivity” spoke to the crowd once again and told his story of growing up on welfare, food stamps, etc. He said there was many times he wanted to give up, but if he had given up, he would have not seen his dream become a reality, and asked for everyone to keep going chasing their goals in life. Before exiting the stage, Logic asked everyone to shout “I want to be alive”
Before the second to last act took to the stage, the screens inside the arena began to play Mariah Carey’s famous “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, to which was met with a huge sing along.
90’s nostalgia fell over the crowd as the Backstreet Boys were up next to grace the Jingle Bash stage.
After a cool entrance that saw the screen display each member descend from space, The Backstreet Boys (Decked out in all burgundy and white) hit the stage opening with Larger Than Life. From the get-go, Nick, Kevin, AJ, Brian, and Howie haven’t lost a step. The energy driven performance included all the hits from the group’s discography including Quit Playing Games (With My Heart), We’ve Got It Goin’ On and more.
AJ took a moment to chat with the crowd and thank Chicago for sticking with them for over 24 years. He also mentioned that their performance would be a trip back down memory lane.
After performing I Want It That Way, BSB thanked the audience and proceeded to exit stage right. A lot of chatter began to take place from the crowd as I overheard many fans stating the group forgot one song, that song being 1997’s Everybody (Backstreet Back). It seemed as this was part of the plan as the Backstreet Boys returned for an encore.
It was a given, but all age groups knew this song. A impressive performance was met with great cheers from the audience. BSB did mention they have a residency in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood that set for this upcoming January and February.
It was now Main Event time. Custom light-up “Rep” signs from the Swifties went up as none stop screams took over the Allstate Arena as it was time for Taylor Swift to take the stage.
Before the headlining set began, Taylor Swift’s mother Andrea Swift caused a bit of a frenzy making her way to the production area to watch the show. While being escorted to the area, Andrea took the time to pose for pictures and hugs with fans. Even when Andrea made it her section, she still took the time to greet and chat with fans around the area.
The lights went low as Taylor Swift took the stage and opened with “…Ready for It”, the first track off her 6th studio album, Reputation. After the strong opening, the Chicago crowd screamed to no end. Taylor took a moment to take it all in, smiling and thanking Chicago for having her. The phenomenal performance continued with songs such as Blank Space, Gorgeous, and the ultra crowd favorite, Shake it Off.
During her performance of I Don’t Wanna Live Forever, Taylor would bring out her signature guitar and announce that the song was being nominated for a Grammy.
For the duration of the set, the audience would sing every word. The show came to a close with the performance of Look What You Made Me Do.
This would be one of Taylor Swift’s first performances in Windy City in some years and would also be fans first glimpse of what to expect when she returns to Chicago with her Reputation Stadium Tour scheduled for June 1-2, 2018 at Solider Field.
The B96 Pepsi Summer Bash hits the Allstate Arena on June 23, 2018.
Check out more photos from the B96 Pepsi Jingle Bash below
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