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.
- Tamagotchi: Near the end of episode 121, the crowd at Lovelitchi and Melodytchi's performance of "Smile for Tomorrow" can be seen holding and waving lights during the song.
- 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, as a cute gesture from his part.
- In the Cosgrove Hall animated adaptation of Soul Music, the audience waves lit candlesticks during the Band With Rocks In's final concert.
- Occurs in Undercover Brother while the title character and Penelope Snow AKA White She Devil are karaoke singing "Ebony and Ivory".
- In the sequel to Wayne's World, Garth tries this and winds up setting some guys hair on fire.
- Done during Audience Participation in The Rocky Horror Picture Show during the song "Over at the Frankenstein Place", with the cue being "there's a light..."
- The film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has a melancholic version of this trope towards the end. After Dumbledore dies and his body is found at the foot of the ramparts, the crowd of people gathered raise their wands in tribute to the great wizard, teacher and mentor. Their wand tips are lit, and the collective energy burns away the Dark Mark in the sky above, sending a clear We Will Not Surrender message.
- 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 Michael's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" duet which the audience respond to with this trope.
- A Comic Relief parody of costume drama featured a scene set at a Charles Dickens reading which was portrayed as a Victorian rock concert, complete with the crowd waving lighted tapers.
- Victoria Wood's song "Reincarnation" refers to this with one of the lives she'd like to lead.
Dr Scholl will be my favourite sandal,
Higher heels than that I cannot handle,
Saw Barry Manilow and held my candle,
Wax was running down my blouson.
- The cover of Bob Dylan's 1974 live album Before the Flood depicts an early example. At the time, Dylan didn't understand the significance of it at first and thought the fans were mad at him and were going to set the arena on fire.
- 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.
- Invoked by Gavin Dunne during a live performance at the Escapist expo (recorded here)
- Referenced by Halestorm in the song "Rock Show".
- Staind's live recording of "Outside" also features Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, whose most noticeable contribution to the performance is to say "I'm feelin' those lighters, y'all!" to the crowd.
- Invoked by They Might Be Giants. During live performances of "Careful What You Pack" and "Madam, I Challenge You To A Duel", Flansburgh has asked the audience to hold up their cellphones to shed light on the band as they play.
- Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" (and by extension, Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind II: Broken Down") references this trope with the bridge line "Put your lighters in the air, everybody say 'Yeah! Yeah!'".
- Roxette's "Listen to Your Heart" video has the audience wave sparklers during the finale.
- Referenced in Five for Fighting's "Slice": "No cell phones, just twenty thousand lights, swayin' on a Saturday night alright."
- Invoked in VNV Nation's power ballad "Nova", with the lines "Light the fire in me" and "Shine your light on me".
- Live performances of CHVRCHES' appropriately named "Afterglow" commonly evoke this trope.
- This has become a staple of Bray Wyatt's entrance, as fans will hold up their cell phones in the darkened arena as his calm, eerie entrance music plays. He refers to the lights as his "fireflies."
- 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.
- Playing well enough in the level "Guitar Solo" of Mr. Bones would have your skeletal audience hold up candles.
- This was parodied in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "Band Geeks", with footage of a live-action audience holding up lighters during the performance by Squidward and his band.
- In The Simpsons episode where Bart tricks Reverend Lovejoy into having "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly played in church by disguising it as a hymn, the congregation starts holding up lighted candles near the end of a solo that causes the the harmonium player to pass out.
- 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 Bob's Burgers episode "Boyz 4 Now" the audience does this with their cell phones during the titular boy band's concert.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode "The Mane Attraction", many unicorns in the audience (including Rarity) light up their horns in a manner similar to this trope when Coloratura performs "The Magic Inside".
- 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.
- More recently, most smartphones now have LED camera flashes that can be lit continuously to use as flashlights, and this is what people will raise in tribute.
- After Prince died, movie theaters across America showed Purple Rain in tribute. Many a lighter was raised at the end.
- After Carrie Fisher died, Star Wars fans held Raised Lightsaber Tributes.