Khalid is without a doubt contributing heavy game to the R&B pop scene right now. His songs relate to the modern day highs and lows of youth, incorporating themes of love, heartbreak and carefree living. It is no wonder the people of Melbourne flocked to see this in person at his sold out Festival Hall show. His raspy vocals echoed throughout the Hall, striking the audience with his goofy dance moves yet humbled confidence, grooving to each and every song he performed.
The mellow vibes all around don’t last long as the “Location” singer emerges. It is in this moment that we suddenly feel the immense suspenseful roar the crowd has been waiting to expel. With the display of an American flag bedazzled before our eyes and blockbuster lighting branding the red, white and blue flag, Khalid begins with “American Teen,” making us all feel as though we are wrapped up in that American Dream. The energy is pure magic as the crowd sings along to every word. “You guys are loud as fuck,” he exclaims, almost taken back by the crowd’s response.
Joined by two back-up dancers dressed as cheerleaders, he begins “Lets Go.” The crowd’s energy is soaring. From the band to the lighting display and the choreography, the whole shebang has such a youthful and fun feel to it with smiles all around; the chemistry onstage is admirable and gives off a liveliness missing in most live bands today.
“We gon’ have some fucking fun tonight. The next song is slow as fuck.” His awkward transitions between songs were slightly comedic and allowed the audience to connect on a more casual level. He mellows things down with an acoustic version of “Hopeless” as he claims this song is pretty “slept on”, however I beg to differ as his angelic tones really reflected off all walls in the building. With the city lights as a backdrop, it felt like we were in a dream. Nevertheless, it was his heartfelt, energized performance of “Cold Blooded” where we truly witnessed the soulful quality of his voice.
“This is the song that changed my life forever,” he claims as the crowd erupts in excitement knowing exactly what song is about to play. As soon as the hook of “Location” resonates throughout the hall, there is no going back. Appreciation levels are at an all time high and not a single soul in the room refrains from singing along. It is no wonder the song went double platinum.
As things get more serious and the personal break-up songs begin, it becomes clear what everyone loves about Khalid: his lyrics are so real and so relatable. We all feel his heartbreak or relive our own, especially during “Shot-down.” I catch the girl next to me getting teary. Khalid really connects with his fans.
Khalid ended the show as with confetti, which accompanied the crowd-pleasing last hurrah, “Young Dumb and Broke.” His vocals were almost drowned out by the chanting of the crowd; it felt like a karaoke sing-along activity between crowd and artist, and it was spine-tingling to witness. With his cheeky grin, his ability to connect with his fans with every lyric, and his untouchable stage charisma, at the age of 19 it is without doubt that Khalid’s future is nothing but a promised land.