Performing his first set of U.S. solo shows at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, eaJ prepared a short but sweet concert for his passionate fans. For two consecutive sold out shows, the soloist bared his heart to fans with sentimental performances and fan service that left everyone with unforgettable memories of the evening. As an added bonus, the show was opened with a set by Mad Tsai, another soloist whose voice and vibe complemented eaJ’s.
From the moment fans entered the venue, they were already being surprised by the singer. Some fans headed to the stage to grab a spot, while others ran to the restroom, get a drink or snack at the bar, or wait in line to buy merchandise. Luckily for everyone in line for merch, eaJ decided to spend his time prior to the show’s start sitting at the table signing autographs, taking selfies, and giving hugs. This unexpected but meaningful gesture set the tone for the night to come — one that was designed to give his fans a night to remember.
Officially starting the show, Mad Tsai was first up on stage, performing songs varying in genre and showing off his versatility as a musician. In one moment, he performed upbeat pop songs while swaying his hips, and in another, he’d croon emotional slow songs like “In My Head,” dedicated to his late grandmother, with a miniature keyboard and a bright spotlight on the artist. The singer made his way around the stage, utilizing every bit of the small platform, and performed each song with ease and confidence. Taking a break from singing, Tsai also took some time to discuss recent Supreme Court decisions and how angry they made him, opening up about his disappointment as a queer person of color. Kicking the mood back up soon after, Mad Tsai finished his set with “stacy”s brother.”
As the lights turned off throughout the entire venue, eaJ’s voice could be heard over the speakers, telling the beginning of his story about his struggles with insomnia. “With it being such a big part of my life, it only made sense that my first solo musical project would be based off of it.” Shortly after that, the singer walked on stage to the beginning notes of “Visions,” ready to share his story as a person and as a musician, through his music and his intermittent voice overs. Between every few songs, the lights would turn down once again, and eaJ’s voice could be heard over the speakers once more, sharing another part of his life and journey. Before “sober go away,” the singer shared that, on his road to accepting that not everyone will love him and that apologizing doesn’t automatically mean being forgiven, he found solace in alcohol. Spiraling downwards, he found help for himself because of his fans. “I know I sound repetitive, but it really is all thanks to you,” he constantly reminded the audience, expressing his gratitude with his words and deep bows. “You are the reason I am still here, and still making music. It’s not an exaggeration to say you saved me.”
Diving deep into his emotions, thoughts, and mistakes, he continued sharing more about his personal experiences throughout the show. “Typical Story” was preluded with a request for the crowd to sing along, and “50 proof” was started with an anecdote about how the song was written at one of the lowest points of his life. eaJ didn’t hold back at all, speaking candidly about his insomnia, his depression, his addiction, and his climb back to sobriety. Although his effortless high notes were impressive and his stage energy was charismatic, the true stars of the show were eaJ’s emotional vulnerability and growth, as he poured his heart into his music and shared it with the audience.
Not wanting to only discuss the lows, eaJ also made sure to lift up the mood with tracks like “LA STARS,” which was met with the crowd’s loud voices as they screamed the lyrics along. The most euphoric moment during the show, however, came during the encore. As the beginning notes of “Car Crash” were heard, fans looked around in confusion as eaJ could only be heard and not seen, yet their questions were answered shortly as the soloist prepared one last surprise for his fans — a run through the crowd. Spending the whole song walking along the floor, the singer shook hands, high-fived people, gave out hugs, and took selfies as he sang. Towards the bridge of the track, eaJ even made his way out to the center of the general admission pit, forming a mosh pit as everyone jumped and sang the lyrics together.
At the beginning of the show, eaJ mentioned his hopes that his concert could serve as a place for attendees to forget about themselves as individuals. “This place is a safe haven, where we can all let out our frustrations with the world, with school, with work, or even with other people.” Creating that safe space by sharing his own personal struggles and stories first, eaJ put together a beautifully warm environment for both him and his fans to unapologetically be themselves. Not only preparing great individual performances, eaJ put together a show that was more of an overall experience, allowing attendees to learn about finding your own path and growing, even if there are forks and curves in the road.
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