AJR’s One Spectacular Night: So Much More Than Just a Concert



Ryan Metzger of AJR is seen floating while playing the piano to their song “Turning out part 2”. A galaxy is displayed along with fog covering the stage creating a mystical set.

Carly Amoriell, Graphics Manager

“Imaginative and ethereal” – Cheyenne Speer, “AJR’s imagination is limitless” – Danielle Rice, “Above and beyond” Ashlee Thompson; these are just some of the quotes from AJR fans after watching the once in a lifetime live show AJR’s One Spectacular Night on December 26th. 


AJR is a band of brothers–Adam, Jack, and Ryan Metzger–known most notably for their hit singles “Weak” and “Bang!”. They write, record, and produce music themselves. 


Due to COVID-19, many concerts had to be cancelled or delayed. Artists around the world started figuring out ways to hold concerts for their audiences through a combination of live shows and pre recorded content; AJR was determined to do something different. 


That is where the idea of One Spectacular Night was born. They intended to “blur the lines between a movie, a broadway show, and a concert,” as they said in their sneak peak, and they did so successfully. With opportunities for fans to interact, technology used in astonishing ways, different scenes for every song, and much more, AJR and their team, including their trumpeter Arnetta Johnson, created a show that would go down in history.


Many artists performed live for their fans stuck at home, so what made AJR’s One Spectacular Night so spectacular? “[Other virtual shows] seemed very detached from the audience,” expressed Emily Rose, a 21 year old university student. 


It’s no surprise to have a chat in a live show, but AJR went a step further and recorded their own sounds to allow the audience to clap, stomp, and yell in between their songs, which allowed the audience to engage as they would at a physical performance. 


There were normal tickets as well as directors chair tickets. Both tickets had a pre-show of clips and trivia of the band as well as the show itself. Directors chair tickets, or VIP tickets, gave the audience extra customizability, such as being able to change the camera angle they were looking at, which added another layer of an immersive experience. The directors chair ticket also provided an exclusive Zach Sang interview of AJR. 


The most notable difference between OSN [One Spectacular Night] and other virtual shows is the use of technology. Júlia Cerqueira Dias, a 17 year old graduate, shared her feelings: “Some artists do like one or two songs with this technology but they thought beyond that”. Every single song they performed, whether it be a new song or an oldie, had a scene and experience of its own. 


Danielle Rice, a 22 year old quality assurance tester, added on to Dias’ idea by stating: “You always see artists use lasers in their shows… usually just being pointed around”. 


Rice said this in reference to one of the fan favorite scenes for their song “Burn The House Down”. In this scene, Jack is seemingly floating on top of a light path made of lasers. He even walks across the light as well as hangs onto it. Many visual tricks like this were used in OSN.


There were so many memorable scenes for AJR fans. The overture was played at the very beginning of the show; it was a mix of many of their songs together in one. Technology was used to make Jack appear as if he was walking along an apple patch and even picked an apple from a screen which seemed to be magical. 


During their song “Turning Out pt. 2”, Ryan was seen to float while he played the piano, as seen in the photo. The screens behind him displayed a galaxy which created a mystical experience for viewers. Another splendid use of technology included using the screens and a giant pencil to make it appear they were drawing on the screen. 


There were very few criticisms that came out about this performance, and for good reason. However, viewers who’d prefer to stay anonymous noted how with the directors chair ticket, the interview didn’t seem serious enough to match the cost, and cameras may have cut out parts of the performance for people without great internet connection. 


Cheyenne Speer, a 19 year old in her first year of college, has a neurological condition known as synesthesia in which she experiences seeing colors while listening to music. She expressed how “a lot of colors I perceive with their songs matched with the colors of the lights”.


“It was a light in the dark for me,” said Emily Rose, speaking for many people as well. Since getting out of the house is few and far between for many people in quarantine, being able to experience something so emotional for many was thought to be impossible until AJR came out with OSN.


“There were times where my jaw dropped, where I smiled, and even where I teared up,” conveyed the junior Ashlee Thompson. Anyone who watched AJR’s One Spectacular Night can agree it was an emotional, truly unique, theatrical, magical, once in a lifetime experience. While OSN may never be seen in full again, the impact it left is a spectacle in the music industry.