The 5 Seconds of Summer Show // Live in New York City at Madison Square Garden!

I recently had the most amazing time seeing one of my favorite bands ever perform in New York City at Madison Square Garden! This was my 5th time seeing 5 Seconds of Summer and they truly just keep getting better every time! They have been one of my favorite bands for nearly a decade and it is so crazy to think of how much time has passed since I started listening to them. The first show 5SOS show I went to was in 2015 at Hersheypark Stadium, nearly eight years ago to the day. I just turned 16 at the time and here I am now, just having turned 24 still being the biggest fan of their music. That connection and community is so special to be a part of for so long. Hearing them play so many of their older songs that they haven't performed in years transports me back to those days, music is so powerful in that way. Getting to hear so much of their newer music live for the first time and creating memories with those songs was so great too. Every 5SOS show I have ever been to always makes me think to myself that there is no way they could ever top that last performance and somehow, they do every time. 

This is their second time performing at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In July 2016, they performed at the legendary venue for the first time on their Sounds Live, Feels Live Tour, which is a show I was lucky enough to be able to attend as well! That was actually the first show I ever went to at MSG and since then I have had so many incredible, once-in-a-lifetime concert experiences there. It is my favorite venue to go to and I will always hold a special place in my heart for that very first time I was there! I remember that show was the day before Luke Hemmings' 20th birthday and also the day their new song "Girls Talk Boys" came out on the Ghostbusters soundtrack, which they played for the first time ever that night! All of these years later, it felt like such a full-circle moment to get to see them again in that same venue and to have continued to grow with them and their music in that time. 

You could really feel the pure joy radiating off of everyone in the room. I love those moments during a concert where you can physically feel how happy both the band and the crowd are. I hope some of the pictures I took capture that energy because it was truly so amazing to experience. I especially love the pictures I took of Ashton Irwin, he was smiling literally the entire show while he was drumming which was so beautiful to see. "It's nights like these we need each other. We meet each other out here in these peaceful get-togethers and we share this music, and we share this love and we share this life", Ashton said during the show. It was so evident how much it meant to all of them to be able to play in such an iconic venue again after all these years. Their live performances bring their music to life in a way like no other. Whether it is 2015 or 2023, they have always been incredible performers and every time I get to see them is always a magical experience.

This was the best tour they have done yet. Every single moment was nonstop high-energy, with a mix of old and new favorites in their discography. They opened the show with "Bad Omens", which is a song that I love so much. In the weeks leading up to this concert, I tried not to have any spoilers of the setlist, so I was beyond excited to hear this was the first they played! I listen to the live version from the Royal Albert Hall album all of the time and couldn't wait to experience the energy of that for myself!

Then they performed "2011", which was released in 2021 to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of when they started the band. This entire tour feels like such a celebration of their journey as a band and paying homage to every stage of their career thus far. "2011" was the perfect song to kick off the night in that regard because it truly does reflect on all of those emotions so perfectly. All four members got a chance to really shine vocally throughout the night and with "2011", both Calum Hood and Michael Clifford sounded great during this song! They first performed it on a special called "The 5 Seconds of Summer Show" for their anniversary a couple of years ago, which they named and modeled this entire tour after. That show, which is free to watch on YouTube and I highly recommend checking out, included performances, skits and behind the scenes footage. 

The stage design for this tour was even modeled after the "2011" music video and anniversary special with the checkered stage and light up marquee lights that spell out "5SOS". In terms of stage design, this is absolutely their best yet and everything was executed so well. In between some of the songs, they also included some new skits on the screen. My favorite was before "Amnesia" when they were dressed up as doctors saying they had to surgically remove the flannel from around your waist because its not 2014 anymore but couldn't get the black skinny jeans off - lol! Then they said, "I've got some bad news, you've been diagnosed as a 5SOS fan...sorry". 

They also played two more of my favorites from their latest album 5SOS5, called "Caramel" and "Blender". "Caramel" is absolutely one of their best in every aspect and the live version only elevated it even higher. Luke, in my opinion, is one of the greatest male vocalists ever and I always felt like his vocals really shine on this song in particular (but also every other song). Ashtons's solo at the bridge is such a highlight too, not to mention Michael's guitar solo at the end! I also love "Blender" so much, it was one of my most-played songs on Spotify last year and I couldn't wait to be able to hear this song performed live! It is such an addictively catchy song that I can never get enough of! The live version was beyond amazing and everything I dreamt it would be!

I was so excited to hear all of the songs they performed from CALM and 5SOS5 because I never had a chance to hear them live before! I was supposed to see them in the Fall of 2020, but because of the pandemic that show had to be cancelled and unfortunately wasn't rescheduled. This was my first time seeing them since their 2018 Meet You There Tour in support of their newest album at the time, Youngblood. That was such an amazing night too and I have been waiting for five years to have the chance to see them again! Songs like "Easier" and "Teeth" I have been wanting to hear live ever since they were released. They truly sound like they were made to be performed live in a setting like that! I am obsessed with the live instrumentals and vocals of those two, I can't even put into words how incredible they sounded!

"Babylon" is absolutely one of their best songs live, I loved it so much when they had it as the opening song of their Meet You There Tour and five years later, I still love it just as much. The drum and bass lines are so insane on this song. The transition into "If Walls Could Talk" was so iconic too and has always been one of my all-time favorite songs by them. I could feel the ground literally shaking under me from everyone dancing and jumping during this part of the show! The only other times I ever experienced that is at the Harry Styles' shows I've seen at Madison Square Garden, where it borderline felt like an earthquake shaking the arena! 

I go back and forth between what my favorite 5SOS album is because they all have played such a big part in my life at different times and I have so many happy memories associated with each one, but something about the songs from Youngblood will especially always have a piece of my heart. I loved getting to hear so many of those songs live again! "Want You Back" is such a fun and catchy song with an infectious melody. "Why Won't You Love Me" is another incredible song from that album and was so excited to hear it was on this setlist!

"Ghost of You" was a beautiful moment of the set too, hearing the crowd sing the lyrics so loud gave me chills. I loved when Luke performed the last verse on the piano at the Meet You There Tour and this new arrangement was so stunning too. I was really happy with this setlist and all of the songs they played, but I can't believe that they didn't include "Lie To Me" in the setlist for this tour, especially for this show at Madison Square Garden, considering the "flashing back to New York City" lyric. 

There were also so many creative interactive elements throughout the night. There were at least three different times they released confetti all over the crowd throughout the night, with one even being ketchup and mustard confetti cannons! That came after a crazy amazing "Meet You There" drum solo from Ashton, which was one of the many highlights of the night! He is so incredibly talented and there is truly no other drummer like him! 

They also play a surprise song every night, with the odds being up to chance. They brought out a giant blow up dice that had a different song on each side. Many of these songs are very old fan-favorites that they haven't played in a while. I would have been happy with any of the options on the dice, although Michael said, "I am not playing 'Heartbreak Girl' at Madison Square Garden!" haha. It ended up landing on "Voodoo Doll", which to this day is still one of my all-time favorites from their debut album. I love that song so much and was so happy to get to hear it live again after so many years! 

Other options included "Wrapped Around Your Finger", "English Love Affair", "If You Don't Know" and "Heartache On the Big Screen" - all of which are songs I have listened to countless times and was so obsessed with in high school (still am tbh). The first three I listed I would even listen to bootleg versions I downloaded from YouTube on repeat all the time back in 2015/2016. I would have loved to have heard all of them!

Of course, I also loved all of the other older songs they performed throughout the night. As I said, this show felt like such a celebration of their entire journey as a band and the songs that helped make them who they are today. Songs like "She Looks So Perfect" and "Amnesia" are staples in their live shows that they have been playing from the very start and never get old. Other older songs I literally couldn't even believe they actually played in 2023! Especially "Don't Stop", I was shocked they had it on the setlist based on what they've said about it in the past. It still holds up though and is still a hit after all these years to me! It was right before they threw the giant dice out into the crowd and was overall such a fun part of the show. I just wish they'd play "Good Girls" again now too! 

"Disconnected" is another song I can't believe they played, I will forever love that song! The lyric "tune out the static sound of the city that never sleeps" has never felt more appropriate than on that night in New York City too! Thinking of it now, it was actually my first ever favorite 5SOS song when I started listening to them. Before their debut album was even released and all they had was a few songs out on their She Looks So Perfect EP in 2014, I would play songs like "Disconnected" and "Heartache On The Big Screen" constantly!

All of the songs from Sounds Good Feels Good were so special to hear live again because the first time I ever heard them live was in that very same venue on their Sounds Live Feels Live Tour in 2016. It brings back so many memories hearing them perform so many of these songs in the same place eight years later. "The last time we played here, I don't want to say we took it for granted, but we were just kids, so being able to come back here, we are appreciating how lucky and honored we are to get to play here," Michael said in a video posted on social media after the show. We are all so much older now, but it felt like such a special moment to be able to celebrate that journey. I felt so emotional during "Jet Black Heart" for that reason too, it is always such a highlight of their live shows, but this particular performance of it was my favorite time getting to hear it. I remember how big of a moment this was during their Madison Square Garden show in 2016 and it really commemorates how far they've come since that time. I also loved hearing what Michael had to say before this song started too. He said he dyed his hair pink recently for his daughter that is about to be born in a few months and that she and his pregnant wife are at the show. It was such a sweet moment!  

I have also always loved songs like "Waste the Night" and "Vapor" too and was so happy to hear them perform it again! "She's Kinda Hot" is another song that is always so much fun to listen to and is such a classic. I actually can't even believe they still play it all these years later, but again it never gets old for me. We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene forever!

"Carousel" is truly one of my favorite songs ever and was one of the songs on this setlist I was most anticipating to hear live for the first time. It is one of their best songs lyrically and conceptually. There are so many powerful lyrics that stand out to me as some of the best not only on that album, but best they have ever written. "My life's just a carousel spinning around, I'd pay again just to keep from stopping it now," "I try to keep my head up above the ocean of my doubt," and "Always looking back and I don't know why, something always there in the back of my mind, everybody's living on a one-way ride, how you gonna get thеre, get therе?" are among some of my favorites. The live instrumentals, as well as Luke's vocals, are so incredible and also so different from the studio version. If you haven't already, check out this song from their Royal Albert Hall album to get a taste of how amazing this song is when it's performed live!

"You Don't Go To Parties" is another major favorite of mine from their recent album, and hearing it come to life in Madison Square Garden that night was such an electrifying experience. The chorus is always stuck in my head and the bass and guitar riffs sounded amazing. Calum and Luke's verses sounded incredible too! It is such a high-energy song that encapsulates all of the best parts of 5SOS as performers. 

"Best Friends" is a song I have a brand-new appreciation for after getting to hear it live, I'll never forget hearing it and how happy everyone in the crowd was. My mom and I had so much fun during this song! One of the lyrics that defines this entire night is, "Memories I hold to keep safe and I live for that look on your face"!

The last two songs of the set were some of my favorite moments of the night. The first song of the encore was "Outerspace", which is such an incredible song and one of their best in their entire discography. As I said with "Jet Black Heart" earlier, I remember "Outerspace" being such a shining moment of their first Madison Square Garden show. They performed it for the first time in years at their show at Royal Albert Hall last year and they've said that they will probably never play it again because they'll never be able to top that performance of it. Needless to say, I'm so happy that's not true and they ended up being performing it every night of this tour. Everyone in the crowd singing along to lyrics like "the darkest night never felt so bright with you by my side" was such a beautiful and moving moment. 

"Youngblood" was the final song and the most perfect way to end such an amazing show. It is undoubtedly one of their biggest hits and you could really feel the excitement in the air during this song. Hearing an arena full of people scream along to every word of "Youngblood", and every other song of the night, is so amazing to experience! It's hard to even put it into words, but I will never forget a night like this! I never wanted it to end!

I really hope they release a live album from this tour (or better yet, from this show!) because it was such an incredible performance. It felt like such a celebration of all that 5 Seconds of Summer embodies and all that they have accomplished in the past 12+ years. After seeing them perform so many times over the years and having their music be such a big part of my life since I was 15, I am always so excited to see what they do next. I am already looking forward to the next time I will get to see them perform! Although I don't know how, I'm sure they will be even better than ever before! As they say, nothing lasts forever, nothing stays the same ... (except for how much I love 5SOS!) 🖤

Thanks for reading! 

-Melissa ♡

All photos are my own!

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