Whenever some epic music plays, (or usually just any music) there's a chance of some guy raising up a lighter, cellphone, candles or just miming doing so and swaying with the music (or the music in their head). Maybe they get a crowd to join in on it, or maybe they are the only person going with it, just standing there as if they were at a concert, when they are at a wedding reception. Either way, it's usually Played for Laughs
as well as to bring melodrama
into the moment. Occasionally, it might even have the lighters set off fire alarms or sprinklers.
This joke originally developed as a reference to "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
. The lighters were originally used as silent applause during an encore, but use has extended occasionally to otherwise very moving songs as well (or in the case of parodies, maybe not so moving songs).
In modern times, some people may hold up their cell phones instead; there's even smartphone apps intended to simulate a lighter's flame.
- A Heineken commercial showed a tongue-in-cheek explanation of this trope. Man sets beer on ground. He goes back for it and has to illuminate the ground with his lighter. When he comes back up, the entire crowd has their lighters lit.
- Used in Glee during Kurt and Blaine's rendition of "Candles" by Hey Monday at regionals. The audience held up plastic candles.
- Home Improvement: when the guys from K&B Construction come on "Tool Time" and play their tools as instruments, Tim, Al & Lisa (the Tool Time Girl, played by Pamela Anderson) use grill lighters.
- An episode of How I Met Your Mother has Ted and Robin do this while Marshall sings a song about Barney getting slapped in the face.
- Happens occasionally in That '70s Show when the gang goes to concerts.
- The final episode of Phoenix Nights features a Stars In Your Eyes night, during which Brian Potter and Jerry St. Clair recreate Elton John and George Micheal's 'Don't let the sun go down on me' duet which the audience respond to with this trope.
- Referenced in "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" by Jake Owen ("Never gonna grow up / Never gonna slow down / We were shining like lighters in the dark in the middle of a rock show").
- Also referenced in "Lighters" by Bruno Mars and Bad Meets Evil.
- In one Baby Blues strip, Darryl and Wanda go to a Crosby, Stills & Nash concert. When they play "Teach Your Children", everyone around them is holding up a lighter. Wanda asks Darryl to hold up "anything that glows" since they don't have a lighter or cell phone on them, so he pulls out a picture of their daughter Zoe. Major d'awwww moment.
- This was parodied in the Spongebob Squarepants episode, "Band Geeks".
- In one Simpsons episode where Bart switches the harmonium player's music to "In the Garden of Eden" (actually "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly), people in the congregation hold up lighted candles.
- Parodied in Futurama when they're watching a reunion concert of The Beastie Boys. Fry does this and a couple of nearby aliens follow suit with some glowing anglerfish-like protrusions.
- In "Sad About You" on Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot, as Harmony Bear performs a heartfelt song to show that music can convey a wide range of emotions, Grumpy Bear pulls a couple of candles (they appear to be electronic or glow-stick type) out of his "Care-y-all" and he and the human visitor Joy start waving them.
- In the Daria episode "See Jane Run", Trent lifts a Zippo in tribute to his sister at a track meet.
- This trope was among many parodied by the Warner Brothers (and the Warner sister!) on Animaniacs.
- In the Family Guy episode "The Son Also Draws," a touching reconciliation between Peter and his son Chris is greeted with a round of 70s folk classic "Cat's In The Cradle" by a forest of hallucinogenic talking trees. Then one of them raises a lighter and they all burst into flames.
- In the Cosgrove Hall animated adaptation of Soul Music, the audience waves lit candlesticks during the Band With Rocks In's final concert.
- In the Bob's Burgers episode "Boyz 4 Now" the audience does this with their cell phones during the titular boy band's concert.
- The PistolShrimps Harry Potter Starts A Band features a scene from the Harry Potter films, made to look as it their raised wands are lighter substitutes as they badly sing along with Whitney Huston's "I Will Always Love You".
- In Homestar Runner, Strong Bad holds up a lighter at the end of an email about heavy metal.
- The local currency in Brütal Legend (a.k.a. Heavy Metal The Game) are the Fire Tributes, which are actually signs of approval by the Gods of Metal and appear as 2D hands holding lighters whenever you do something awesome like jumping over a canyon in your hot rod or beating a mission.
- Certain encore performances in Guitar Hero II are accompanied by members of the audience waving lighters. (Yes, Free Bird is one of them.)
- Discussed by Quentin from Psychonauts, who tells you that it would be nice if you held up a lighter during his band's concert. The drummer, Phoebe, isn't too happy about this proposal since, due to problems with controlling her pyrokinetic powers, fire is a sore subject with her.
- During the Hurricane Sandy Relief Concert at Madison Square Garden on 12/12/2012, Alicia Keys asked fans to do this with cell phones, as she played "No One" on the piano.
- There's an app that will let you induce a simulation of this on your smartphone.