The little blue prince of bedroom pop returns after three years with the “Bloom” tour.
The next date of Troye Sivan’s “Bloom” tour reached San Diego State University’s very own outside concert venue on Oct. 25. The California Coast Credit Union Amphitheater is wide and spacious, providing a welcoming and open atmosphere. The anticipation of waiting for headliner Troye Sivan steadily rose as people trickled into the amphitheater. Only a handful of dedicated fans had shown up for the openers when the concert kicked off around 7:30 p.m. I reclined in my seat the best I could, propped my feet up against the empty row in front of me, and prepared myself for the next three hours.
The first opener, Carlie Hanson, was met with a crowd that had roughly filled a quarter of the seats available. Nonetheless, she still strutted across her strip of the stage with spirit. Featuring typical indie-pop vocals reminding me of a huskier-sounding Halsey and a Twenty One Pilots-esque band, Hanson showed off her genre of defiant teen-pop. While a bit juvenile at times, she added considerably to the youthful energy of a standing pit formed by the front row that was mainly comprised of teenagers. I did not raise my middle finger up in the air like Hanson encouraged, but I did whoop and holler along to every one of her jerky headbangs. The set ended with Hanson running off stage, leaving the drummer and guitarist to finish off with rowdy solos.
Carlie Hanson provided a mere taste of what was to come later in the show, which became more evident with the appearance of the second opener, Kim Petras. Typically, openers receive minimal, polite applause when coming on stage, but this was not the case with Petras. The audience greeted her with an astonishing amount of cheer; clearly, this was someone I had missed out on before. I was suddenly reminded of watching large handfuls of people buy her merch before the concert. This seemed trivial at the time — of course, people who purchase shirts from openers exist — but the number of Petras’ fans comprising the stands astounded me.
Boasting a side-bun, clout goggles, and glittery, platform sneakers, Petras was definitely my favorite surprise of the night. Though she was only backed by a DJ with a Macbook, Petras managed to command the stage with ease, earning all kinds of cheer and laughter from the crowd. Songs included “I Don’t Want It at All,” a bratty declaration of wanting all sorts of designer clothes and the sultry, synth-heavy “Close Your Eyes,” which was perfectly fit for a Halloween soundtrack. Petras appeared as an internet Barbie girl straight from the digital age, flaunting her brand of disco-pop with a bite. Petras was just fun overall, and she clearly riled up the crowd with her unapologetic and bold sound.
Now, with the amphitheater mainly filled, excitement and anticipation for the headliner thrummed in the air after nearly an hour and a half of openers. Once the lights dimmed, the crowd let out a final cheer before an audible hush fell upon the venue. Dramatic and theatrical, the curtains parted to reveal Sivan in a white suit bathed in blue light, a subtle reference to his past musical era “Blue Neighborhood.” The crowd cheered, of course. He began with a soft serenade to “Seventeen,” gently grooving to the beat, his shadow a large projection upon red velvet curtains. At this point, the stage remained minimal, featuring just the boy with his microphone.
With “Bloom” being a softer and more melancholic album than “Blue Neighborhood,” I was uncertain about how Sivan would translate the tracks to an energetic live performance. You can’t really throw it back to a Troye Sivan song. My answer came soon after. Once Sivan hit the chorus to “Seventeen” for the second time, the real stage was revealed. Curtains opened up fully, displaying a two-tiered platform and, most importantly, a live band. The addition of live instruments breathed an air of vitality and exuberance in what would have been lukewarm performances; the guitarist saved Sivan’s delivery of “Wild” by ending the track with a thrashing solo, allowing the audience to truly “get wild.”
Contrasting newly upbeat performances such as “Bloom” and “Wild” with candid, intimate renditions of “Postcard” and “The Good Side” demonstrated Sivan’s duality of performance.
From slinking and spinning across stage to draping himself against a couch illuminated by hanging lamps, the presentation of each song reflected its mood. The visuals combined with the audio enhanced the experience overall. A particular image to note is Sivan’s well-loved noodle dance, where he goes gooey at the knees and elbows as he vibes to his own music. As the listener, I couldn’t help but groove along.
Surprisingly, a memorable part of the show wasn’t even the music itself, but rather the way Sivan segued into different songs. He spoke to the audience like they were old friends, this comfortability stemming from his YouTuber roots and indicating his close relationship with his fans. Sivan even pointed out clusters of people wearing his merch, groups waving pride flags, and one specific fan who had been bopping hard enough to be noticed by the entire venue.
Sivan played all of “Bloom,” but added a few choice songs from “Blue Neighborhood” that truly encapsulated his narrative of youth and nostalgia. “Heaven,” “Fools,” and “Youth” garnered the most enthusiasm from the crowd, having been fan favorites for years.
Groups of friends in front of me swayed to the beat as they stood, and couples kissed and softly mouthed along to the words. Not only were these Sivan’s songs, but they detailed an experience felt by the audience. Sivan wasn’t just performing these songs: He was sharing them. The “Bloom” tour was about more than flowers, as Sivan cheekily referenced upon announcing the tour. With an incredibly diverse crowd filled with teens, college students, parents, and adults, Sivan managed to make the audience feel seen and heard both during songs and in between. It represented a celebration of youth, growing up, and finding yourself.
Date: October 25th, 2018
Location: San Diego State University California Coast Credit Union Amphitheater
Image courtesy of GQ.com.