No longer an up-and-comer, Khalid has officially arrived at the top of the music game and judging by tonight’s performance, the 21-year old superstar is here to stay. The certified double platinum album artist didn’t have an easy job though, with Lucky Daye opening the night and wowing fans early with a mix of traditional R&B and soulful overtones. It’s clear why Lucky Daye has been nominated for four Grammy Awards as the singer’s velvety vocals had the crowd intoxicated. Performing like a headline act, Lucky Daye interacted with the crowd, grinding across the stage to get fans in the mood; not deterred by the mere half-filled venue so early in the night. The standout of his set, Karma had fans on their feet and moving with hints of Ginuwine’s Pony really getting the party started.
Wholesomely naming his tour Free Spirit after his second album of the same name, R&B-pop singer, Khalid, showed fans exactly how he has become one of music’s biggest contemporary stars almost overnight. Delivering a performance that can only be described as laid back and relaxed (in the very best of ways), Khalid has clearly settled into stardom since his breakout in 2017 with his debut album American Teen.
Crowds poured into Adelaide’s Entertainment Centre as the hour grew closer to Khalid’s arrival. Flashing his signature smile, Khalid walked on stage to greet the screaming venue of fans eagerly waiting. Dressed simply in jeans, sneakers and a white ‘Carrots’ jumper, Khalid opened the show with Free Spirit, the title track from his recent studio album.
Soon he was joined on stage with an entourage of back-up dancers as he sang 8teen – an ode to his debut album. Despite their tight choreography, the dancers didn’t appear to be typical stylised dancers; they made the atmosphere feel more like a high-school house party as they bounced around the stage and even encouraged Khalid to get involved. 8teen made a smooth transition into 21, symbolic of Khalid’s transformation both personally and musically over the past few years.
After singing Hundred remixed with Daft Punk’s One More Time, Khalid addressed the crowd, admitting “this is my first time here in Adelaide and I promised some people I’d do a few songs that aren’t on the set list so here we go”. The back up dances fled the stage and Khalid stood alone on the stage to belt out a stripped back Heaven, with his silky vocals transitioning into falsettos without flaw.
His rather shy presence when he spoke to the crowd was a strong contrast to his strong and sultry voice as he belted out hit after hit. Although, he did pick up some confidence throughout the night. When one fan screamed, “you’re my favourite”, Khalid smiled and responded, “you’re my favourite, baby”. Soon after, he sung Happy Birthday to an eager fan, and later in the night he stopped mid-song to check on a fan who had passed out, even walking over to hand her a water bottle.
Despite being on the end of some hefty criticism for his lacklustre dance moves in the past, Khalid had such a strong stage presence tonight and every move of the hips and body roll got the crowd screaming. He danced his way through Silence, Better, Right Back, American Teen and bringing us all back to our “senior year of high school” he performed fan favourite, Location.
Khalid didn’t break from his hour and a half long set aside from a short video montage which explained his motivation for the Free Spirit album and his growth as an artist. The internationally acclaimed artist admitted, “I felt like I had a lot to say then, but I have so much more to say now” with video footage of him road-tripping with friends and as he said, “just enjoying life’.
Ending the night with the same endearing energy that he started with, Khalid delivered the crowd what they wanted – a stream of hits including Talk, Outta My Head, Young Dumb and Broke, East Side, Love Lies and the finale, Saturday Night. While the night seemed to end rather abruptly – with no encore making the finish feel a little premature – Khalid is deserving of his title as international star and there is no doubt he will have many more sold-out shows to come.
Live Review By Caitlin Graziano