The last time I went to a concert where I knew every single word to every single song while simultaneously crying half of the show was when I saw Justin Bieber in 2010 (don’t laugh, at the time it was religious). Daniel Caesar brought me back to that feeling, which I know may sound ridiculous. It wasn’t necessarily in a musically comparative type way but in a “everything feels right/hopeful about life and love” type way. Obviously a lot has changed since I was 13, but the type of nostalgia and warmth I felt seeing Daniel Caesar live for the first time brought me back to a place where nothing had gone wrong yet and that’s a feeling I had missed.
Logistically, there were a few factors about the show that were frustrating, the first and most prominent was waiting in a line in 35 degree weather for an hour and half. I got there at 7:30 PM, the doors were supposed to open at 8 but they didn’t let us in until close to 9:00 PM. This is more of a venue issue than a Daniel Caesar issue but it’s worth noting considering the fact that it definitely played into my ~concert experience~.
Stockhold-born, LA-based artist Snoh Aalegra opened the show and her performance was seamless. She claimed she had the flu so her voice was a little bit rough but I guarantee no one noticed. She performed a few songs off of her new album Feels including “Nothing Burns Like the Cold” and “Fool For You” during which she had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. The song built and the band built with it and it felt like everyone in the room knew the song even if they didn’t. Her range, sound and overall vibe complimented Caesar’s perfectly. It was smooth, soft, and sensual and she interacted with the audience in a way that felt intentional and personal.
Photos Courtesy of Pari Gabriel (parigabriel.com)
After what felt like forever (it was probably 45 minutes or so) Daniel Caesar finally came on stage, hoodie and all. I’ve heard the moment when an artist steps on stage for the first time, where the crowd goes absolutely wild, described as a lot of things; euphoric, exciting, and so on, but for me it’s always ridden with anxiety. The progression from low voices to screaming and chanting is extremely nerve-wracking usually, but with this show I didn’t feel that at all. I heard the first note of “Japanese Denim” and the noise from the audience was completely drowned out. This was my first time attending a concert by myself (which is also a pretty big deal for someone who thrives off of being surrounded by people and is also generally pretty anxious) and I think it made the whole experience that much better.
Caesar sang a few of his older songs including “Violet” and “Death and Taxes” as an ode to those who have been listening to him from the beginning and his voice sounds exactly like it does flowing through the speakers of my laptop at home. He performs with soul and meaning and talks with the audience, responding to every “I love you!” with an honest and heartfelt “I love you too!” There’s something really special about artists that take the time to respond to fans from the audience and also care enough to talk in between songs. It feels purposeful, like the artist is truly doing what they’re doing for us.
Photos Courtesy of Raphael Gaultier
While I have heard every single song, and I know every word to every single song, I didn’t start listening to Daniel Caesar until this past summer. This guy from Tinder sent me a few songs from Pilgrim’s Paradise back in July and I was immediately hooked. Said ‘guy’ ended up ghosting me, naturally, but I really do owe him for introducing me to the literal love of my life. Anyway, lucky for me Caesar ended up dropping his recent release Freudian in September and I was quite literally blown away. As I mentioned in my preview, Freudian is basically an anthology of the most tumultuous relationship of his life and it describes love and heartbreak in a way I’d always pictured it in my head.
“Neu Roses” was absolutely incredible—the white people surrounding me singing the N-word was definitely super rough but also to be expected, unfortunately—but besides that I really think my transcendence started during this song. “Neu Roses” is soft and relies more on vocals than instrumentals which is always super cool echoing through a huge room like The Crocodile. “Best Part” and “Blessed” simultaneously ruined my life and made it. It ruined my life in the sense that I can never go to another concert again because nothing will ever be as beautiful as hearing the musical version of love live was and it made my life for the same reason. Those two songs sound like falling in love to me. Instrumentally the way they build and fall, intensify and break down drives me CRAZY. Not to mention the lyrics paired with his voice make for the most incredible love songs. “Get You” and “We Find Love” are his two most popular and most played songs which, regardless of the artist, is always a super fun vibe during a live show. Everyone in the audience knows every word and it’s that cliché “we’re all connected through music” concert feeling. “We Find Love” was surreal because of how long he drew it out and how it built more and more each second and “Get You” was his encore which was the perfect way to end the night.
Photo Courtesy of Raphael Gaultier
Overall, the show was everything I could’ve asked for and more. I might be a little bit biased considering I am literally in love with this man, but I think anyone that was there will feel the same way I did. He showed genuine care for his fans, performed almost every song off his new album, and sounded identical to his tracks which are all factors for an unbelievable night. I’m currently waiting on the perfect man that way I can use “yes, I’m a mess, but I’m blessed to be stuck with you” as an Instagram caption so I hope you all stay tuned for that. Until then, I’ll be reliving this concert in my brain for as long as physically possible.
On another note, while I was waiting in line in the ridiculously freezing weather I met two super cool photographers, Pari Gabriel and Raphael Gaultier, and they were kind enough to let me use their photos for this article. If you like what you’re seeing (and I know you do) please show them some love on their Instagrams (@Pari Gabriel and @Raphael Gaultier)! It’s amazing to meet other young adults who are passionate about art and doing what they love. There also may or may not be a feature coming out soon about these two hella cool boys and and their magazine, The Human Condition (@h_mancondition), so keep an eye out!
Photos Courtesy of Pari Gabriel
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