Exclusive Review : Fifth Harmony

     Fifth Harmony has come a long way since their run on the second season of The X Factor and they just wrapped up a massive nationwide tour in support their full-length debut album, ‘Reflection’. The group’s album, released in February of 2015, was both a critical and commercial success for Fifth Harmony, selling over 160,000 units in the United States alone since its release as well as debuting number one on Billboard Digital Albums Chart. This milestone was massive for the group as ‘Reflection’ became the first ever all girl group album to achieve the title. Singles from the album, “Sledgehammer,” “Worth it,” and “Boss,” have all charted rather well on radio so far which further helped in establishing the young group’s legitimacy in the contemporary music scene.

     The tour, aptly named “The Reflection Tour”, saw the band selling out shows in nearly every market, an impressive feat for what was in all reality their first major headlining tour, and drew on support from Jacob Whitesides, Jasmine V, and Mahogany LOX.

     The tour run wrapped up last night with a performance at the Keswick Theater in Philadelphia but the night prior the quintet made an appearance at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem as they performed for a sold out crowd of all ages. While for some it may have been a late night, for many the night was young when Fifth Harmony took the stage just past 8:50 to a screaming crowd that nearly burst eardrums with their excitement for the show.

     As the large white curtain dropped it revealed the massive stage production that Fifth Harmony had brought with them to accompany their performance, oddly enough looking very much like a photo studio with a large number of lighting umbrellas set up across the stage (photographers will know what I mean by this). As the screaming crowd intensified the group turned around to face them as the countless LED lights burst to life and illuminated the Sands Event Center stage in a way it never has been before.

     Together on stage Fifth Harmony was a power-house to witness perform as they kicked off the night with the title track of their album, “Reflection.” During the song the group took turns in the spotlight as they rotated around atop their massive riser on the stage, coming to the center most spot when it was their respective turn on the song. Each member was met with loud screams as the crowd basically welcomed them to the Lehigh Valley during the song and each member could be seen smiling profusely as they were welcomed by the sold out cheering crowd.

     As the song concluded one of them shouted “Is it okay if you we come closer?” and with that the group walked away from their microphone stands to come as close as they could to the crowd to sing and dance as they performed the second song of the night “Going Nowhere.”

     I think an important part of what makes Fifth Harmony so powerful and impactful is their cohesiveness as a unit, this doesn’t mean that each member doesn’t shine individually but their sound is monumental in scale when they sang together as a unit. During the day the may be known as Ally Hernandez, Normani Kordei, Lauren Jauregui, Camila Cabello, and Dinah Hansen but when the evening rolls around and it is time for them to take the stage they shed their individual selves to mold together to be Fifth Harmony.

     As the evening rolled on the group moved quickly from “Miss Movin’ On” into one of their breakout radio hits “Sledgehammer” and while doing so it became clear that something truly spectacular had happened in the music industry. There is no doubt that there are plenty of female musicians in pop music and I know many comparisons can be made between Fifth Harmony and groups like the Spice Girls or Destiny’s Child but none of these comments do the group justice, Fifth Harmony has found something that I don’t think many other groups in their genre have and while doing so they remained true to themselves as people. So many of their tracks are inspiring to hear and they aren’t embracing the stereotypical pop that so many others are, Fifth Harmony have remained creative to the core which is why their music has resonated with such a large audience.

     The night moved quick along but the group made sure there was plenty of time to address the fans that they adore so much. The setlist contained a few solid covers included Hozier’s “Take Me to the Church” and a stunning Mariah Carey medley in the middle of the set that superbly showed off the groups vocal range and power. To no surprise the setlist contained nearly every song off ‘Reflection’ but I think this was an incredibly smart choice for the group as these songs are incredibly strong and the majority of their fans who came out expected to hear just those tracks. The setlist was as follows for the show on Thursday night :

Fifth Harmony – Sands Event Center Setlist 
Going Nowhere
Miss Movin’ On
Better Together
Suga Mama
Worth It
Who Are You
Take Me to Church
We Know
We Belong Together/Shake It Off/Always Be My Baby (Mariah Carey Medly)
Like Mariah
Everlasting Love
Top Down
This Is How We Roll

Brave, Honest, Beautiful

     Fifth Harmony is a group that has certainly nowhere to go but up from here, having just wrapped up their first headline tour with such success it is safe to say that they may never play venues this small again. That doesn’t mean the group will change their deep intimate relationship they have with their fans but I wouldn’t be surprise to see them playing venues as large as the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on their next tour run, a feat that many bands don’t see late in their career let alone on their first album cycle like Fifth Harmony. The Lehigh Valley was treated to a special one with this show at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, we can only hope the group remembers their Lehigh Valley fans on their next tour and come back to the area.

Be sure to check out Sight of Sound’s exclusive Fifth Harmony photo gallery from Matt Christine Photography :

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