Aaron Carter: April 9th at the WWU Viking Union

Tuesday, April 9 marked one of the most controversial concerts in Western Washington University’s history. Performing in the 800-person capacity Multi-Purpose Room was Aaron Carter. Yes, that Aaron Carter. Brother to the Backstreet Boy, 90s preteen dreamboat, few-hit wonder. As shocking to some and as no surprise to others, the MPR was sold out by the day of the show. With a long line trailing down the hill, the crowd was overwhelmingly loud and aggressive with an abundance of girlish squeals. Carter proved his miraculously sustained star power to ogling fans by driving not once, but twice, up High Street while sticking his body out of his Mercedes tour van to the vocalized delight of fans. A bit ridiculous, yes, yet one would not help but feel a bit startstruck at the first Carter sighting. Following his arrival, Carter took the time to take a shirtless self-portrait on instagram flaunting his new tattoo taken that day and tagged “The Viking Commons” thus skyrocketing WWU into fame.

There were no openers slotted for the evening and the audience verified that none were needed. More rowdy, crazy and intense crowd behavior cannot be found anywhere. To those who scoff at the idea of a hardcore mosh pit happening at a pop concert, I can only offer witness and testament from the crowd. Aggressive behavior reached a new level as hair was pulled, shoes stepped on, skin bitten, and more. With club wardrobes and arena-ready attitudes, a few riled up ladies had to be escorted out by security. This was Mean Girls 2.0.

Carter appeared oblivious to the chaos and reveled in the attention. Attendees didn’t appear to come for quality music, they came for entertainment and that’s exactly what Carter provided. Taking a break between every set to catch his breath, Carter definitely flaunted some dance moves that reached gymnast proportions at times. The entire set felt like a 90s flashback with Carter, his two dancer gentlemen, and his DJ coordinating their choreography and backwards baseball caps.

Music alternated between Carter’s earnest attempts at making his 25-year-old voice mimic his preteen hits and the DJ spinning the current top 40 tunes. It was a confusing juxtaposition aimed at unifying eras that just felt awkward. In particular, one baffling song involved lyrics repeating “America!” over and over while the dancers spun and shook full-sized American flags. Unfortunately for Carter, what’s cute when you are 12 isn’t the same when you are in your mid-20s. Singing about how you are the man no longer is endearing; it is egotistical and rather sad. And yet, the extremely excitable crowd was extremely satisfied as was apparent by the never-ending shrieks of ecstasy and underwear tossed on stage.

Nostalgia was in the air as the audience collectively reminisced on the glorious early 2000s. The After Party Tour doesn’t necessarily mark a comeback but rather a continuation. Perhaps Carter said it best as he triumphantly stated, “Aaron’s party NEVER stopped!”