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.
The lighters were originally used as silent applause during an encore, and also perhaps as an homage to the stories about audience members at Woodstock lighting candles. In particular the practice became associated with Lynyrd Skynyrd and the audience reaction to "Free Bird". Its 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 with the light on instead and there are even smartphone apps intended to simulate the look of a lighter's flame. Much safer than using fire; just don't drop or lose your phone.
As this is incredibly common at concerts, please limit Real Life examples to special or unusual variations of this trope.
- 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.
- Oshi no Ko: When Ruby, Memcho and Kana have their first gig as the New B-Komachi, the audience wave colored glowsticks in support of their favorite performer (yellow for Memcho, red for Ruby and white for Kana).
- 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.
- 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.
- Our Shining Days has the main characters' ensemble perform at a Fan Convention, where a group of audience are seen waving around glowsticks. These same group of audiences would later show up in the Chinese Orchestra's final performance to support them.
- 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..."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Parks and Recreation: Andy's band MouseRat writes a farewell song for celebrity horse and beloved town attraction Li'l Sebastian titled "5,000 Candles in the Wind". When it's performed at the farewell concert, the audience waves plastic candles.
- 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.
- Happens occasionally in That '70s Show when the gang goes to concerts.
- One of the eponymous Blue Men of the Blue Man Group will do this after a plant in the audience calls for "Free Bird". It doesn't last long though, as one of the other Blue Men immediately puts it (and the song) out with a fire extinguisher.
- The cover of Bob Dylan's 1974 live album Before the Flood depicts an early example. Dylan claims that he didn't understand the significance of the gesture at first and thought the fans were mad at him and were going to set the arena on fire.
- Also referenced in "Lighters" by Bruno Mars and Bad Meets Evil.
- Live performances of CHVRCHES' appropriately named "Afterglow" commonly evoke this trope.
- Confession Executive Committee: Almost every video that features Mona. Her concerts are always filled with hordes of fans waving glowsticks in her honor.
- Referenced in their song "Long Live Rock & Roll"
"So throw your lighters up and darling sing with me tonight"
- Invoked by Chris himself at one concert where he told the audience to hold up their phones, lighters, or "whatever you got that lights up" while he played "Home". He jokingly refused to play the song until enough lights were up, instead singing the following to the tune of "Home":
I'm gonna need more phones
I'm gonna need more phones
I'm not gonna play this song until I get more phones
I'm talking to you right here I know you got more phones
- Referenced in their song "Long Live Rock & Roll"
- Referenced in Five for Fighting's "Slice": "No cell phones, just twenty thousand lights, swayin' on a Saturday night alright."
- Invoked by Gavin Dunne during a live performance at the Escapist expo (recorded here)
- Referenced by Halestorm in the song "Rock Show".
- 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").
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Invoked in VNV Nation's power ballad "Nova", with the lines "Light the fire in me" and "Shine your light on me".
- This became a staple of Bray Wyatt's entrance, as fans would hold up their cell phones in the darkened arena as his calm, eerie entrance music played. He referred 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.)
- Playing well enough in the level "Guitar Solo" of Mr. Bones would have your skeletal audience hold up candles.
- 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.
- 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 Houston's "I Will Always Love You".
- Parodied in Ryan George's "First Guy to Ever Hold Up a Lighter at a Concert" video.
- Todd in the Shadows' review of "Lighters", from the Music folder above, notes how it's an Evolving Trope, and using its original form is outdated, saying Bruno Mars would probably be more correct if he sang "A sky full of iPhones..."
- 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 "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.
- 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.
- 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 the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Mane Attraction", many unicorns in the audience (including Rarity and Twilight) light up their horns in a manner similar to this trope when Coloratura performs "The Magic Inside".
- The Simpsons:
- One episode has Bart trick 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.
- A later episode features guest star Little Richard hosting a Teacher of the Year award show where Mrs. Krabappel has been nominated for the top honor. Homer is shown in the audience with a lit lighter shouting for "Purple Rain". After Little Richard shouts back at him, a star-struck Homer tells Marge that "Michael Jackson just told me to shut up".
- 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.
- 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.
- At Japanese idol performances, fans use LED lightsticks that can light up in one of several different colors.
- During streamed music performances, expect to see flame or fire emojis spammed in the chat if such behavior is allowed.
- An example that went badly wrong happened on the final night of Woodstock '99 when the festival attendees were given candles to light up while Red Hot Chili Peppers performed "Under the Bridge" as a vigil tribute for the Columbine tragedy. During the band's set, the crowd began to light the candles, with some also using candles and lighters to start bonfires, which rapidly escalated into riots and mayhem as a culmination of three days of difficult conditions surrounding the festival.
- Whenever a League of Legends tournament match reaches game 5 of a best-of-5 series, Silver Scrapes is played as the final game is being set up, and the crowd will raise their phones in tribute to the series going the distance.