Keshi never fails to bring an incredible energy to his live shows, and his concert this month at Frost Amphitheater in Stanford was no exception. At one of his last shows for his Hell & Back tour, the singer returned to the San Francisco Bay Area to play to a sold-out venue. On April 5th, crowds of excited fans swarmed the outdoor space, eagerly awaiting for the evening to start.
Keshi had a variety of openers perform at different tour stops and at this concert, he was accompanied by two young Asian artists: 23-year-old Korean American musician James Ivy and 25-year-old Filipino musician No Rome. Starting his music journey learning how to produce electronic music, James Ivy ventured into the genre of indie rock and writes his own songs. Playing an electric guitar, he had a calm and sure composure throughout his act, despite some technical difficulties with the sound. He gradually built up the energy of the crowd, ending on “Peace Sounds” and inviting everyone to jump along to the song. Following James Ivy, No Rome and his DJ stepped onto the stage to the cheers of adoring fans. Watching Rome groove and dance along to each song, you could tell he was immersed in the rhythm and atmosphere around him. He introduced “Stoned in the Valley” by describing it as the song he wrote when he first spent time in California and got really high. Finishing his set, Rome ended with the single that first rocketed him into fame, “Narcissist,” which features his labelmate and collaborator The 1975. At the concert, he gave a special shout-out to Jay Park, whose song “Solo” was sampled for this track, before launching into the catchy, upbeat song.
As the crowd waited for Keshi’s entrance, you could sense their anticipation growing. When one of the background songs ended and there was a moment of silence, the audience began chanting, “Keshi, Keshi, Keshi!” While many concertgoers experience a lull in between set changes, this crowd continued jamming out during the waiting period. Compromised mainly of Gen Z and Millennials, the crowd instantly began to belt out lyrics as soon as Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me” came on. When Keshi finally arrived onstage with his live band, the energy skyrocketed. “I knew you guys would be great but not insane!” he yelled into the mic a few songs in, “and not insane in a good way, insane like crazy!”
When Keshi last came to the Bay Area for the HELL/HEAVEN tour, his show was held at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. This time, performing in a full amphitheater, Keshi had truly reached new heights, with this concert marking the biggest crowd he’s ever performed for at his own headlining show. Although the set was mostly the same as that of his previous tour, consisting of tracks from his most recent album GABRIEL as well as older songs, Keshi did perform one new, unreleased song “Kiss Me Right,” first teaching the chorus so the crowd could sing along. It was clear Keshi enjoyed the banter with his audience, joking around in an almost flirtatious way. At one point, he offered a challenge to the audience: if they could beat the previous record-holder (Chicago) for being the loudest singers, he would give in to their request to take off his shirt. Of course, the fans couldn’t pass up on that offer, so they screamed the words to “drunk” without abandon, waving their phone flashlights in rhythm and filling the space with bright white lights. When the song ended, I heard a guy behind me marveling at the experience we had all just shared together, summed up in a simple phrase, “That shit was magical, bro.”
There were indeed many magical moments of the night, with Keshi showing off his range of musicality and making good use of his live band by bringing both softer acoustic elements of the piano and guitar and thrilling electric guitar solos in songs like “i swear i’ll never leave again” and “skeletons.” Sipping whiskey and strumming his guitar while shirtless in the cold, Keshi seemed to be enjoying every moment up on stage. He had a knack for effortlessly pulling the crowd into what he was feeling during his performance, and even the security guard next to me, who had never heard of Keshi before, couldn’t resist cheering and dancing along to the songs. While the concert wasn’t technically perfect, with sound issues during the openers and Keshi feeling a little tipsy with cold, numb fingers at one point, it didn’t matter to an audience who was having the time of their lives. Keshi surely felt the same as he headed off the stage that night, shouting with deep appreciation, “I will never forget this night. This is the best show of my life.”
Click on the photo below to see all our photos from the concert on Facebook!