He might not be able to take to the stage right now, but that didn't stop YUNGBLUD from bringing everything he had to the London date of the Weird Time Of Life Tour. This is why it was such a spectacle.
Photo Credit: Tom Pallant
In another world things would be very different to how they are now. On a different timeline YUNGBLUD would have played five nights in a row at the Kentish Town Forum this past summer. On another plain of existence he would be sharing the contents of his new album ‘Weird!’ with 10,000 people in the gorgeous surroundings of Alexandra Palace. But we’re all going through a very weird time of life right now, so we have to make do with what we have.
Though on the opening night of this virtual tour, taking place over 16 nights and in 16 different cities, it’s clear that this isn’t just another livestream in a year overflowing with them. This is a night that you’re going to remember. This is a community coming together as one, albeit in different rooms, to share in the joy that Dom Harrison has provided them. This is a celebration unlike any other.
Much like if we were all at a real show together, YUNGBLUD has made sure that he isn’t alone for this experience and supplies some absolutely wonderful opening entertainment. That comes in the form of the shimmering pop of Baby Queen, delivered from inside a glittery pink palace, and the grunge-riddled mayhem of Royal & The Serpent projected through a multi-coloured lens, As well as displaying new and exciting talent to a new audience, both band’s rapid sets only serve to up the anticipation. Despite nobody being in the same room, you can feel the energy coursing through the stream as things inch closer and closer to the main event. The shared euphoria from watching live music mixed in with the "pinch me" realisation of what you’re about to witness. Where in the last few months has a rush like that been possible?
And then with a lunge at the camera rather than a drop of the curtain, it was time for The YUNGBLUD Show. And what a show it is. With a sneer and a boot into the air as the stalking riff of ‘Strawberry Lipstick’ bursts into life, all of the pent up frustration that has been building inside of Dom due to lack of opportunity to release it seemingly escapes all at once. Darting around the open space he has before him with the swagger of Mick Jagger and the theatre of Freddy Mercury whilst spitting every lyric like it’s the last that will ever escape his lips and still managing to smile from ear to ear, the sheer jubilation of this spectacle from the get-go is infectious and then some.
As promised tonight is being used to show off some of what to expect from ‘Weird!’ when it drops in three weeks time, and is done so with gusto. Long time live favourite ‘Ice Cream Man’ feels as snotty and saccharine as you would expect and it sure feels good to hear the title track in a live setting as this after living with it since April. Between each song Dom reminds all of those watching at home how much he deeply loves them and how genuinely excited he is to share this experience with them despite not being able to see the whites of their eyes. Though it’s wonderful to hear these songs in their rawest form, it’s the unbridled devotion and genuine infatuation that YUNGBLUD displays as he stares down the camera with a grin permanently plastered across his chops that makes this whole event so special. It feels intimate despite being totally limitless. It feels sporadic and spontaneous without ever feeling anything less than professional and polished. More than anything, it feels like he is talking to you and you alone. And that’s something not to be taken for granted.
A brilliantly bratty ‘Parents’ and harmonious ‘Loner’ send as many shivers up the spine as when they were first released before Dom takes a seat with an acoustic guitar and explains just how special this next song is. He’s talking about ‘Mars’, a special track he wrote about a life-changing encounter with a fan and one that sums up what ‘Weird!’ is about perfectly. Holding back tears as he sings these words that have stuck with him so vividly, it’s hard not to feel choked up along with Dom and reflect on what exactly he has created these past couple of years. A community that listens, learns and loves each other no matter what and, despite not being able to be in the same room and share this moment, is still connected. As Dom shouts, “If people don’t like you for who you are, fuck em” with everything ounce of feeling in his body, we all feel a little bit more comfortable in our own skin.
A wonderfully cheeky rendition of ‘Cotton Candy’ follows, and immediately gets stuck in your head once again, and then we’re treated to another new number in the form of ‘It’s Quiet In Beverley Hills’ before the final crescendo of ‘Weird! opener ‘Teresa’ brings things to an emotional and stunning end. In that moment something becomes abundantly clear. What on the surface was a passionate and poignant show from one of rock's most energetic and enthralling perfromers also feels like something much bigger. This was not just a perfect display of how magical live music can be but also of what the power of community can produce during difficult times such as these. It was a reminder to share love with as many people as you can as often as you can, because with love on your side truly anything is possible. It was an unfiltered and unbridled moment of pure happiness that served not just a tonic for all those watching YUNGBLUD but also a tonic for YUNGBLUD himself. And more than anything, it was a perfect warm up to the chaos that will take place when we’re allowed to enjoy the real thing together once more.
That day can’t come soon enough.
YUNGBLUD is on the cover of Rock Sound this month! You can grab a copy, alongside some very special merch, from SHOP.ROCKSOUND.TV now