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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.
- 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.
- Occurs in Undercover Brother while the title character and Penelope Snow AKA White She Devil are karaoke singing "Ebony and Ivory".
- 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.
- 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").
- 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", 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.
- 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.
- Casey and Andy, TMBG "She was a hotel detective" video.
- The local currency in Brutal 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.