Singing under the bright orange lights, Khalid brings you all types of feels with his new music on his Free Spirit Tour.
There is something magical about watching someone your age live the dream you had as a kid. I remember being in kindergarten and having this assignment. We had to draw whatever we wanted to be when we grow up… at first I drew a girl with a microphone and wrote down the words— I want to be a singer. I remember showing my teacher and my classmates and them saying, you need to pick something more realistic. I then quickly tried to erase the Crayola crayons and then drew a teacher instead. I want to be a teacher.
Watching Khalid on stage at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego reminded me of this very moment even so many years later. Khalid’s 2019 tour is called Free Spirit and that is exactly what he tries to foster at his concerts. With his opener Clairo, best known for her top hits Pretty Girl and Flaming Hot Cheetos, this tour is quite the experience. Khalid creates a safe space to feel all the emotions you need to feel whether its happy, sad, heartbroken or lonely. For the time just shy of two hours he takes you on a journey.
Khalid made everyone in the arena so comfortable and I think a major factor that contributes to this feeling is how he presents himself to his fans. Overall each song he performed was more about him connecting with the audience than it was about making a huge spectacle. He did have some dancers support him for some songs but the choreography was not so complicated and meant to wow you. The dancers were supporting him and the simple choreography allowed the audience to focus on Khalid and did not detract their attention from what he was trying to tell the audience. Khalid has created and mastered his own unique way to express himself. His performances felt so intimate as he tried to look into the crowd’s eyes.
One of my favorite moments of the night was when he told the audience, “you’re beautiful and you deserve more.”
I think what struck me most about this concert is that Khalid was a storyteller. He changed his visuals on the screens behind him for each song and wanted to make you feel something different for each one. A different setting, a different color, a night sky, orange lights. The show is bright like his tour merch. The colors of his visuals became another way for him to communicate to the audience, whether it was to get them hyped up, or to portray how his songs made him feel visually… it was a look inside his head –at the world he created. He took you somewhere and he brought the light with him.
One of the biggest reactions that erupted in the crowd was from his 2017 hit called “Young, Dumb and Broke.” Everyone shouted the lyrics to that song, and Khalid could not help but smile as everyone in the arena sang his words back to him. It was nostalgic.
One of the songs that hit everyone hard was his song “Bluffin’.” During this song the audience was in unison as the swayed back in forth with quite a few of them were hugging themselves. It felt like you were in your own room listening to this song blasting it through your speakers or headphones. Being able to create a safe and vulnerable space where an arena full of people feel comfortable to dive into their own emotions is inspiring, especially when it is someone your age. Everyone had their flashlights up for this one. “Bluffin’” hurt a little bit for everyone— the premise of the song is wanting to say goodbye and letting go but not knowing how to which is a universal situation that impacts everyone in some way. To me his lyrics, and his voice are what make him such a powerful artist.
Khalid also knows how to lift his audience up, which is exactly what he did with the song “Hundred.” Everyone was on their feet dancing and jumping to this song. He hyped everyone up and got them to forget about their problems and worries. He made them happy.
After going to this concert, I feel like I have a little more inspired and brave.
I want to be a singer.