A trailblazer known for pushing the boundaries of pop music, Charli XCX brought her infectious, high energy catalog to the stage on CRASH: The Live Tour.
Setting the tone for the night, Baby Tate opened with a rapturous performance that got the crowd going. Baby Tate brought messages of self-empowerment with “I Am”, delivered vocals with “What’s Love”, and showed her dancing skills with a new release aptly named “Dancing Queen”. Also a songwriter and producer, Baby Tate possesses immense talent that I am honored to have witnessed in person. Shoutout to Sky Jetta, Baby Tate’s DJ, for supplementing the already great vibes!
The second artist to perform was A.G. Cook, who is often seen in our Sub-Rock rotation here at KSJS. Beginning with “Xcxoplex”, A.G. Cook’s set consisted mainly of tracks he worked on with Charli, especially those he produced on Charli’s mixtape Pop 2. Throughout his set, A.G. Cook happily cavorted around his mixer and occasionally incorporated vocals through a vocoder. It always feels fulfilling to see someone actively enjoying what they love to do. It was great being able to see an artist I’ve played on my own radio show live in person.
Come 9:00 P.M., it was time for CHARLI BABYYYYYYYYY!!!!! The setlist largely composed of songs from her fifth album CRASH, intermingled with songs Charli released throughout her career. Throughout the show, Charli never failed to engage with the audience, commanding the crowd to dance along to the beat of her songs. Supporting Charli onstage were two dancers, Nathan and Grant, who helped maintain the flow of the show with their impeccably choreographed routines, especially during interludes when Charli was offstage doing a costume change. Each song Charli performed came with its own visualizer, color scheme, and light production, which kept the show visually stimulating. Notably, “Visions” was equipped with rainbow strobe lights, which felt like a total party. Occasionally the only source of light would be from the screen behind her, giving a silhouette moment – something I am an absolute sucker for. Speaking of Sucker, the setlist included a reimagined version of “Boom Clap” from that album, which was a nice surprise to hear. The highlight for me was Charli kicking off the encore with “Vroom Vroom”, which everyone went bonkers once the song began. All in all, Charli served us with looks, including one with a puffer jacket that I am sure was extremely hot, consistently landing moves while simultaneously giving live vocals, and a night that will be remembered for a lifetime.
Admittedly, I was previously unfamiliar with Charli’s discography, aside from her more commercial hits that defined the pop culture of Summer 2014. But I have always known about Charli due to her status as a gay icon. When Charli announced her tour in late 2021, I knew it was an event I could not miss. In my mind, I envisioned a colorful night surrounded by fellow flamboyant people and great music. Ultimately my experience at the concert surpassed my expectations. I also withheld from listening to CRASH before the concert in order to experience all of Charli’s artistry at once. I left the concert as a new fan of Charli.
Tickets for the concert sold fast. I attended the second show of her tour on 3/27/22 at the Fox Theater in Oakland – a date that was added due to high demand. The Fox Theater also is conveniently located a block away from the 19th St. Oakland BART Station and is surrounded by a variety of establishments catering to different needs. One could easily create a whole day excursion around Oakland, before ending their day at a concert at the Fox Theater. This show was also my first experience attending a concert in general admission. My takeaway from this is to not wear uncomfortable 3-inch boots to a concert again, unless I have a designated seat!
Written by Joseph Edwards