After a year filled with music releases and not one, but two international tours, The Driver Era’s: The Girlfriend Tour finally made a stop at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire in London. The two sold-out nights at the venue attracted masses of young, cowboy-hat-wearing fans whose excitement about the brother duo Ross and Rocky Lynch was evident, hours before the shows even started.
Two separate opening acts were tasked with entertaining the crowd until the anticipation for the main act was so thick in the air, it was almost tangible. JESSARAE, whose hairstyle seems to be California’s take on Elvis, had a set that was as fun as it was emotional. Opening act number two, Ryland Lynch — the even younger brother of the two that make up The Driver Era — put on a DJ set that included everything from Olivia Rodrigo to ABBA’s ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ (which the crowd screamed along to at the top of their lungs). The enthusiasm that he received could only suggest what was about to come.
Confirming these expectations were the absolutely deafening screams that filled the venue as soon as the lights went down, signalling the beginning of The Driver Era’s set. Within the first few minutes it became strikingly obvious that, whatever Ross Lynch was doing, it was clearly working. Every glance into the crowd, every seductive hip thrust, every little wave to the fans in the front row resulted in a noise level that could only be interpreted as one thing: genuine excitement over the show.
The energy distribution between the brothers, with Rocky very obviously being the calmer, older one while Ross jumped and danced around on stage, seemed to work for both of them; they bounced off of one another, balancing each other out and giving each other space to shine. While Ross is clearly the front man, positioned at the very centre of the stage for most of the show, Rocky is just as adored by the fans at his side of the stage, with just as many cameras, hands and screams directed towards him.
While the audience enthusiastically enjoyed the entire setlist, there were two standout moments that made the balconies of the O2 Empire shake. The first one being the opening notes of their most famous song by far, which also happens to be the soundtrack to many viral shirtless videos of Ross Lynch on TikTok: ‘Preacher Man’. In the song’s narrative, the duo pleads for a preacher to help them ‘get away from this life of sin’ in a confessional and self-aware way that — ironically, given their initial objective — heightens their sex appeal. Another unexpected highlight was the performance of a song called ‘Nobody Knows’ that had Ross drape a yellow feather boa around his neck, to the continuous encouragement of his fans.
There is no question that Ross Lynch is conscious of the fact that most of his fans are girls in their late teens. Using that to his full advantage, the occasional crotch-grab and shirtless moment could be seen as either calculated or as a celebration of a new wave of redefined masculinity. Either way, Ross Lynch knows how to work his crowd and catching a fan’s pink cowboy hat is, as anyone who spends over a certain amount of time on TikTok knows, an integral part of his show.
The Driver Era feels like the celebration of Gen Z culture at its core, where the well-known Disney boy turns into a rockstar in front of everyone’s eyes. It was a concert that was most enjoyable when we allowed ourselves to become part of the mass hysteria, immersing ourselves in the feeling of shared love and unity that only teenage girls know how to create.
Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor