The weekend came early when I found out that I was assigned to report on multi-platinum funk-pop band DNCE. Formed in 2015, the band is young – but that hasn't stopped them from releasing multiple smash hits and taking home the award for "Best New Artist" at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.
The best part was catching the moments I missed the first time around.
The icing on the cake (by the ocean)? Not only would I get to witness an intimate Q&A and acoustic performance by the band, I'd also get to see them perform in all their glory at the Citi Concert Series on TODAY at Rockefeller Plaza. Attending back-to-back performances by one of 2016's most hyped bands as they make their way through New York City? Done.
Backstage with DNCE
Thursday, 2 p.m. ET: Day one began when the band crossed the river to Long Island City for an exclusive Backstage with Citi interview with Rolling Stone journalist Sarah Grant, part of a series that gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite artists. Sarah's questions touched upon the band members' experience in the music business, long-standing friendships with each other, and the million-dollar question, "What's it like to be in a band with a Jonas brother?"
Thursday, 2:30 p.m. ET: DNCE discussed their upcoming album, which will be released this November. Attributing it to the "different sides" the band has, Bassist Cole Whittle described it as a combination of funk, disco, soul, and "messy" garage-band rock.
Thursday, 3:30 p.m. ET: After the interview ended, the band broke out their instruments to play acoustic versions of their hit songs "Cake by the Ocean" and "Toothbrush." Putting their raw talent on display for a small crowd, DNCE's performance was powerful, intimate, and downright impressive.
Cole Whittle answers the million-dollar question
Click the link to watch more video highlights from DNCE at Backstage with Citi
Rise, shine, first in line
Friday, 6 a.m. ET: I arrived bright and early (more like dark and early) to a Rockefeller Plaza that appeared very ready for a concert to begin. The empty stage was surrounded by bright lights, massive speakers, and large screens waiting to broadcast fans' excitement on the show's Fan Cam. The only thing missing? The thousands of enthusiastic fans who were waiting in an entry line that spanned from 48th to 55th streets in Manhattan.
Friday, 7 a.m. ET: It finally came time to enter the Plaza, and thousands flooded into the area competing for the best viewpoint – and for the best sign. After the show, DNCE hand selected a small group of lucky fans who had the most creative signs for a well-deserved backstage meet and greet.
Friday, 7:30 am ET: It would be an understatement if I said the crowd went wild. Hordes of suddenly screaming and jumping fans could only mean one thing: DNCE had entered the Plaza. The band made its way towards the stage, stopping to shake hands, sign autographs, and most importantly, take selfies.
Friday, 8:30 a.m. ET: If midtown Manhattan wasn't already awake, it surely was now. As DNCE took the stage, the combination of their energy and the crowd's enthusiasm made me forget I'd woken up at the crack of dawn. They performed hit after hit as they bounced back and forth between the front of the stage and the runway within the audience.
Friday 8:35 a.m. ET: One of my favorite moments was when lead singer Joe Jonas began a performance of "Toothbrush" with guitarist JinJoo Lee by his side. After a sultry beginning to the song, the band broke into a lively chorus as the audience sang along with every word. Between the lights, smoke, crowd, and instrumentals, the dynamic performance at TODAY was a 180 from the previous day's intimate, acoustic show. What they did have in common were amazing vocals, impressive musical talent, and a way of captivating an audience of any size.
A front-row encore
Saturday, 6 p.m. ET: A few days before the concert, I received a virtual reality viewer - fans were encouraged to register online to receive one in the mail. The viewer is essentially a pair of glasses encased in a cardboard box and decorated with an image of Joe Jonas' eyes (perhaps the newest trend in eyewear?). After downloading the corresponding app and sliding my mobile phone inside the viewer, I was able to relive the concert from a front-row perspective. The best part was catching the moments I missed the first time around - but from an even better vantage point.
How to relive DNCE on TODAY
If you already have a VR viewer, here's how you can watch DNCE's performance from the front row:
- Open the today.com/vr link on your mobile phone. iPhone users will be redirected to the App Store to download the IM360 App. Simply create a username and log in.
- The display will feature a split screen for VR viewing. If the screen is not split, select the icon.
- Open the front of the VR viewer and mount your phone inside.
- Hold the VR viewer up to your face and look around to control the virtual experience.
Be on the lookout for more opportunities from Citi to catch your favorite music artist in virtual reality. Through Citi Private Pass, cardmembers can receive special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events annually, including presale tickets and VIP packages to the year's hottest concerts, sporting events, and dining experiences, plus complimentary movie screenings and more. Learn more at https://www.citiprivatepass.com.