The Show Must Go On
As the coronavirus continuously encroaches on the fun-filled festivities of concert-goers everywhere, I was relieved to have one last show before all hell breaks loose. With cancellations of festivals and postponements of tours happening all around me, Chelsea Cutler’s sold-out First Avenue show felt like my last hurrah for the foreseeable future.
As expected, the usually at-capacity venue felt eerily empty as I entered the building. Considering that this was an all-ages show, I was surprised that the younger crowd was noticeably absent. I expected to be surrounded by high school girls fangirling over Chelsea Cutler. Instead, I was met with a much more mature crowd. Those “Karens” weren’t going to let their precious 16-year-old daughters loose in downtown Minneapolis on a Thursday in the middle of a pandemic. However, much to the delight of the attendees, the show went on as planned.
X Lovers Open the Night
The early show opened up with support from X Lovers, a pop duet based out of Los Angeles. It was clear that this was going to be the last night of the tour, as each opener sang their hearts out. The duo, signed to RCA records and due for a debut release, intrigued early concert-goers with their resonating vocals and electronic elements.
Alexander 23 Bridges the Gap Between Teenieboppers and Too-Cool Fans
Next up was Alexander 23, notably featured on the song “Lucky” with Chelsea Cutler herself. Additionally, the Chicago-based vocalist performed fan favorites like “Mars” and “Dirty AF1s: from the 2019 album I’m Sorry I Love You.
The singer/songwriter strummed on his guitar, accompanied by a drummer, warming up the waiting concert-goers with his easygoing pop sound.
The older crowd finally made its way in from the surrounding downtown bars as Alexander 23’s set came to an end. Since it was an all-ages show, alcoholic beverages were only available upstairs, much to the chagrin of many people I ran into in the bathroom.
The distinct stratification between the 21+ crowd upstairs, youngins in the pit, and chaperoning adults in the way-back was nearly comical. But all came to a hush as the lights dimmed and the entire venue prepared for the highly anticipated headliner.
All Eyes on Chelsea
Chelsea’s simple-yet-unique stage production engulfed the stage as the pop/electronic singer began the show. The cheers and screams from her adoring fans echoed throughout the historic venue. Chants of her name rang out throughout the night.
Each time the music paused, between playing out popular hits like “How To Be Human,” “AF1s,” “310 Bowery,” and “Not Ok” (Kygo cover), the crowd cheered and chanted. They were also more than pleased to hear a huge majority of the singer/songwriter’s latest album, How To Be Human.
I was impressed by the young singer’s stage presence and seemingly endless energy. She bounced around, shredding her guitar, jumped on the drums, danced, and sang in an endless stream. I was amazed that she could even manage to sing as she jumped around the stage.
She only paused to deliver a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “you were good to me,” one of my personal favorites.
After a few costume changes, Chelsea matched a group of girls in the crowd with her medical-grade mint green joggers and crew neck, acknowledging them and making her way out into the crowd to greet them.
It was sweet to see the singer interact so lovingly with her friends on a somber, unexpected last night of the tour. It was even sweeter to hear how deeply the performer cares about her fans, as she gushed about the importance of living their lives in a positive way and being unapologetically human.
As the night drew to a close and Chelsea disappeared off stage, the crowd chanted louder than ever. As the lights lit up the stage once again, the first chords rang out to The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.” The sound of the crowd singing along to the ever-popular jam was nearly deafening. After the brief singalong, Cutler closed out the night with a resonating rendition of “Your Shirt.”
Chelsea dipped off the stage and the house lights came on. It felt like a really difficult goodbye leaving the venue, as so much of the future of upcoming tours remains up in the air. At the very least, I was able to attend and enjoy the final show of an incredible tour. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, this virus gets figured out and we can return back to our regularly scheduled programming.