The Ides of Laurier: Daniel Caesar is a hit


Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman

Walking out of the first concert I’ve experienced in the Theatre Auditorium, I left perplexed as to why this hadn’t always been the go-to venue for on-campus concerts.

It has all the capabilities to provide a true concert experience without the GO transit fare needed to funnel into Toronto, regardless of whether or not it’s capacity may overwhelm the clout of artists we have historically booked. Tonight was different.

Awaiting opener Blaise Moore, there was little expectation of what this artist may gift concert-goers. It wasn’t until a few songs in that I began to believe in her art, and her vibe.

Pointed lyrics set to consistent R&B beats, her set flowed as one strong fire she fueled again and again eliciting cheers and applause from the audience.

Past the loose waves, pleather pants and grande Starbucks mystery drinks, it was undeniable that, as the set continued, the audience was so clearly being drawn further and further into her charm and raw emotion.

This intrusion into her emotions felt like it would be better served diluted, but that would not have left such a lasting impression.

The sole thing her set lacked was some synchronism between the lighting and the music, but perhaps that luxury was solely reserved for main acts. Exit Blaise Moore, stage left.

The stage was prepped for a coffeehouse concert — complete with Persian rugs, tungsten lamps and an array of live instruments. This was undoubtedly for Daniel Caesar.

If he was feeling low, it was not apparent as he completed his set with Freudian album favourites, “Fall Down” and “Blessed”.

After a few misfires, the inward focus of overhead lighting towards the stage and the fog machines pushing out more mystery than before, it was finally time to welcome the man of the evening.

Caesar glided on stage to his sophomore-album closing track, “Freudian”, to an audience who knew every word, and would continue to for the entirety of the show.

When performing a smudging ritual, it’s impossible not to illicit responses questioning what the herb really is and this night was no different. Before going onto perform his most streamed track, “Best Part”, Caesar smudged the stage with a sage stick and set the tone for night.

It was chum in the water for anyone questioning if his live shows live up to the hype for him to have sold out five consecutive nights in Toronto.

If you weren’t already cozy, you were now. When a sound check goes well, it’s translated clearly and there was no doubt that everyone from his band to the lighting guys were hitting every queue.

Moving from the media pit to the back of the crowd, it was apparent how much every audience member wanted to be there.

It didn’t matter where in the crowd you stood, Caesar’s soothing voice found and lulled you to a perfect slumber.

And the tungsten lamps, like the dying embers of a camp fire, surrounded Caesar with a dim glow and held your attention as if you might miss something at any moment. With Daniel Caesar, it’s evident that his art is intended to speak for and to represent him without necessarily putting a face to the music.

This is evident based on his social media presence, album art, and during the concert it was no different — even if you were looking right at the stage you were transfixed on the aura around him, the energy spilling off the stage.

Having just come off his Oceanic tour, and winning big at the 2018 Juno Awards, Caesar thanked the crowd for fueling his energy as he recovered from three different time zones.

If he was feeling low, it was not apparent as he completed his set with Freudian album favourites, “Fall Down” and “Blessed”.

Some audience members exited the venue, not expecting the crowd’s encore chants to be heard, however Daniel rejoined concert goers to perform Get You with the help of his guitarist stepping in as a pseudo-Kali Uchis.

And as peacefully as he joined us on stage, he departed leaving smiles on everyone’s faces — even larger ones on those who weren’t able to grab tickets to his five-night residency at Danforth Music Hall this past December.

Leave a Reply

Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.