Amp Radio filled the Hollywood Bowl with 18,000 people for its third annual We Can Survive concert Saturday. However, the focus of the night was not on raising funds to cure breast cancer, but on who the special guest performer would be.
The show donated $2 from each ticket to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a national education and support organization for women and families at all stages of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. The tickets ranged from $49-$229.
There was an all-star lineup of pop artists, including 5 Seconds of Summer, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Calvin Harris, The Weeknd and a surprise appearance by Rihanna to end the show with a tremendous bang.
“I almost cried when I found out that I was finally going to see Demi Lovato sing because she is my favorite person,” said Iridian Saenz, La Verne junior psychology major.
The singers gave back-to-back performances with a detailed set schedule, unlike last year’s concert where performers, like Paramore lead singer, Hayley Williams, and artist, Pharrell Williams, had the time to speak to the crowd about “the cause” and thank them for giving their support.
Jessica Rivera, a Petaluma High School student, found out two weeks ago that she would be attending We Can Survive after her mom, Alexia Rivera, won the tickets through the radio station.
“I listen to Sam Smith every single day, and he was just mind blowing tonight, ” Jessica Rivera said. “I still can’t believe it.”
Rivera and her mom were flown from Northern California to Hollywood on Friday and had all expenses paid by the station.
“I was just driving and decided to call the station, and I ended up being the 99th caller,” Alexia Rivera said.
Carson Daly, whose mom is a breast cancer survivor, hosted the show last year but with so little time between performers, the show lacked a constant host and instead had various Amp Radio DJs introduce the acts.
Throughout the show, a clip of an unidentified woman getting into a car played on the big screens to remind the audience there would be a surprise guest at the end of the show. However, nothing was said or played to remind the audience about the reason the concert was put together.
The lead singer of Maroon 5, Adam Levine, was not impressed with the crowd’s enthusiasm and offered to leave the show just after beginning his set. Levine began singing his hit song, “Payphone” then stopped and told the crowd that they didn’t seem like they wanted to hear him sing. He didn’t finish the song and continued to ask the crowd for enthusiasm.
The uproar of screams and cheers made it apparent that Rihanna was the crowd favorite.
She started her set with “Bitch Better Have My Money” and closed the show with a throwback, “Umbrella.”
After giving the audience a dose of soul, Sam Smith announced that this would be his last performance in America before flying back to the United Kingdom to record his second album.
Gabriella Chikhani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.