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Chart-topping Khalid Brings Youthful Authenticity to Xcel Center

Khalid Xcel Energy Center Free Spirit Tour Music In Minnesota Chris Taylor Concert Photography St. Paul Minneapolis
Khalid at The Xcel Energy Center - Photo by Chris Taylor

Khalid’s rise to stardom has been nothing short of meteoric. After being discovered on Soundcloud in early 2016 as a teenager, his soon-to-be mega-hit, “Location,” entered the airwaves.

The song began to flourish on streaming sites like Spotify and eventually made it to the top 10 of the Billboard 100.

Since then, Khalid has released two albums, an EP, gone on tour twice, and collected a multitude of chart-topping hits. With his youthful energy and authentic vibe, Khalid is a lovable star with amazing talent. He is the sort of artist you appreciate and root for, almost as if you knew him personally. Not surprising, considering how intimate many of his tracks are, which often detail his life as a young black male growing up in El Paso, Texas, dealing with the same problems that any given teen may face. While Khalid is a teen no more, his youthful smile and laid-back persona remain.

Roar of the Crowd

The Xcel Energy Center was packed. The audience was made up primarily of a younger crowd, but all age groups seemed to be accounted for in the sea of attendees.

The stage was open and broad, with a live band set off to the side.

The lights dropped, the crowd began to scream, and out strutted Khalid in a green Minnesota Wild jersey to the tune of “8TEEN”. The entrance absolutely was goosebump-inducing, as the roar of the crowd made him break into a grin. In fact, the noise of the crowd was almost overpowering. Khalid was also accompanied by a number of background dancers, who would join him frequently throughout the concert.

Khalid Xcel Energy Center Free Spirit Tour Music In Minnesota Chris Taylor Concert Photography St. Paul Minneapolis
Khalid at The Xcel Energy Center – Photo by Chris Taylor

After he warmed up, he took a minute to address the crowd. In a soft and melodic voice, he thanks the crowd for coming as if he was simply performing in front of a few friends. He remembered that he had been in Minnesota in 2017, and again thanked the crowd. He then took a seat on stage, alone, where he bellowed tremendous vocals for his track “Saved”, which he told the crowd (a massive sea of iPhone flashlights) meant a lot to him.

The Song that Changed his Life

Khalid then took time to play a few tracks off his newest album, Free Spirit, including the radio hit “Better”. Needless to say, the crowd went crazy.

He was again assisted by background dancers who weaved around him as he passionately sang along with the crowd.

Next was “Location”. Before starting, he told the crowd that this was the song that changed his life- “the song that brought him here”. An amazing moment. Somehow the track actually sounded better live, as Khalid’s voice smoothly and effortlessly floated through the venue.

Khalid Xcel Energy Center Free Spirit Tour Music In Minnesota Chris Taylor Concert Photography St. Paul Minneapolis
Khalid at The Xcel Energy Center – Photo by Chris Taylor

This song changed my life. It’s why I’m here.

Khalid

The next section of the show consisted of more hits, including “American Teen” and “Another Sad Love Song” off of his debut album American Teen. Both songs were massive crowd-pleasers, and I think I may have hearing loss because of the deafening screams around me. Lots of dancing, lots of fun on stage. Khalid also tossed in his crossover hit with DJ Marshmello, “Silence”, which included a short remix with the live band.

The Interlude

This was the halfway point of the show. Khalid left the stage, and soon the lights went dim, except for a video playing on the massive screen behind the stage. It was an old-school VHS documentary of Khalid and his friends hanging out in Texas. The video was narrated by Khalid himself, who talked about turning 21 and his experiences of the past few years.

Slow Jams

After the video ended, Khalid returned to the limelight. The next group of songs were slow jams, including passionate live renditions of “Coasting” and “Angels”. Again, goosebumps.

Long, white see-through curtain strands from high above slowly began to surround the edge of the stage with Khalid inside, while a video of blue ocean water played above him, likely to signify him being underwater.

The show began to feel a bit long at this point after a few too many slow songs; the crowd just wanted to sing along again. The unfortunate burden of having too many hits to play! Well, Khalid responded by performing the popular track “Talk” off of Free Spirit, which immediately brought the crowd back to its feet. The fantastic guitarist from the live band was absolutely shredding.

Khalid Xcel Energy Center Free Spirit Tour Music In Minnesota Chris Taylor Concert Photography St. Paul Minneapolis
Khalid at The Xcel Energy Center – Photo by Chris Taylor

The last section of the show was filled with more radio hits and collaborations with other artists. Khalid’s track with John Mayer, “Outta My Head”, “East Side” with Halsey and “OTW” with 6LACK and Ty Dolla $ign, to name a few. Each song flowed well into the next, and each was accompanied by extensive dance routines from the supporting dancers. Khalid let loose a bit too, much to the delight of the screaming crowd.

Khalid Xcel Energy Center Free Spirit Tour Music In Minnesota Chris Taylor Concert Photography St. Paul Minneapolis
Khalid at The Xcel Energy Center – Photo by Chris Taylor

Khalid the Megastar

Khalid’s vocal skills are massive and seemingly unmatched, and hearing him live an amazing experience. His youthful energy and signature authenticity are a breath of fresh air for fans of the pop music scene, and he has effortlessly embraced his potential of being this generation’s megastar.

He wrapped up his nearly 30-track set with the final tune “Saturday Nights”, an intimate and soulful track about young love. As the notes of the track began to fade, Khalid appreciatively smiled to the crowd. A rouge bra was sent flying onto the stage, where Khalid picked it up and hung it over his shoulder as if it was the title belt he’d received as a trophy. With a final smile, a bow and a wave, he walked off stage to the sound of the roaring crowd.

Rees Winga
Author: Rees Winga

Written by Rees Winga

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