ZHU Breaks Loose at the Armory

ZHU The Grace Tour, Live in Concert, Minneapolis, MN 2023
ZHU | Photos by Chris Kirihara (@kirifoto_)

Last updated on October 26th, 2023 at 06:51 pm

ZHU (pronounced “Zoo”) returned to Minneapolis this weekend, 5 long years after his sold-out show at First Avenue. Some things were similar, but several differences made this stop on his Grace tour stand out from prior performances.

ZHU has seen so much growth in recent years, and considering his first breakout single, “Faded,” boasts 300 million streams on Spotify, it’s not surprising to watch his performances cross new genres and break into mainstream media.

ZHU The Grace Tour, Live in Concert, Minneapolis, MN 2023

Attendees of the Dune tour from 2018 can expect a few familiar highlights to return.

The iconic falsetto vocals, nailed primarily without a backing track, rang as strong as ever. It’s still remarkable to hear the live performance outshine its recorded version.

This Saturday, we strapped in for almost two and a half hours of ZHU’s set. BPMs and genres came and went, keeping thousands on their toes as we rode through phases of new releases, beloved classics, and nearly 30 minutes of crowd-pleasing trance bangers.

ZHU The Grace Tour, Live in Concert, Minneapolis, MN 2023

Earlier this year, this tour was announced in anticipation of ZHU’s new album Grace. This brought along a new set packed with fresh tracks.

In my time attending live music shows, I’ve seen audiences meet new music with open arms, and struggle to embrace it. Attendees can’t be blamed if they’ve never heard the tracks before.

On Saturday, each of ZHU’s new tracks killed. There was no awkwardness or hesitation in the building.

ZHU The Grace Tour, Live in Concert, Minneapolis, MN 2023

His crew also came to play this year. The new stage-piece kept our artist and CDJs afloat, but also utilized some refreshing new technology to showcase a full band performing inside.

I can’t stress this enough: bass heads may live for synthesizers, but everyone loves to see live music at an electronic show. This wasn’t just one song with a saxophone or flute, either; we were graced with live renditions throughout the entire night.

Having photographed and attended many electronic shows, I keep coming back for these innovations that break away from tacky or overplayed productions.

ZHU The Grace Tour, Live in Concert, Minneapolis, MN 2023

This night outclassed many of the electronic shows I’ve seen in recent years.

An incredible vocal performance, no-holds production, live mixing, and the band made this a show to remember. ZHU’s Grace tour doesn’t stop here; West Coast fans have another month to catch the final leg, and I highly recommend they take action to do so.

It may be another 5 years until ZHU returns to Minneapolis, but until then, we’ll follow along as he continues to grow. Personally, I’d like to see his return to the John Wick soundtrack, but his Mortal Kombat track will tide me over for now.

Written by Chris Kirihara


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