The Phoenix gays and company turned out in full Pride force for Australian pop prince Troye Sivan on Wednesday night. Sivan, along with tourmates Carlie Hanson and Kim Petras, took his live performance to new heights with elevated production and the earned confidence of a stage veteran.
Newcomer Carlie Hanson opened the night early. The teen singer quite literally burst onto the scene with her YouTube covers before being discovered by stars like Sivan and Taylor Swift (a self-professed huge fan) and it’s easy to see why. Hanson’s impressive vocal range lent an effortless quality to a set with all the makings of pop stardom just over the horizon. The fans in the pit went wild for new single “Toxins” and her first hit “Only One”.
German pop singer Kim Petras and her charismatic DJ were up next, strutting onto a stage that became Petras’ catwalk. Despite previous controversial comments in the press, Sivan kept Petras as his opener and she went out clearly determined not to disappoint.
“I’m assuming all the Phoenix gays are out tonight!” she declared to screams of affirmation from the pit. With her Paris Hilton-esque looks and high voice, Petras is clearly poised for a career in the radio pop world. Requiring assistance from her “little bitchy purse”, she demanded designer everything in “I Don’t Want It at All” a la Sharpay Evans and flirted playfully with her handsome DJ during “Hillside Boys”. She was a hit with the still-arriving audience and closed her short set with “Can’t Do Better”.
Stepping onstage under a single spotlight to begin a set is a power move, executed to perfection by Troye Sivan. Opening pseudo-acapella with “Seventeen”, many fans were already in tears with just the first notes. Swaying to his own music, Sivan was, for a moment, an unattainable level of famous. The spell was broken minutes later when he proudly donned a fan’s handmade floral coat that he’d spotted in the front row.
Sivan is a bona fide superstar. In the few short years since his YouTube career launched him to popstar status, his stages and audiences have gotten exponentially bigger (and infinitely louder). His return to Comerica Theatre had the fans hail him as a conquering hero.
“You guys are so much fun!” he shouted from his stage perch with a cheeky grin. Alternating between sweet and sensual, Sivan’s stage presence has only grown more confident and open as he continues to tour and release new (and starkly honest) music. On the road in support of the recently-released Bloom album, Sivan has found his groove in this danceable and undeniably sexy sound.
After an opening salvo of tracks from his new album, Sivan slowed things down with fan-favorite “Heaven”, one of the most impactful songs from his debut album. Not one to keep the vibe down, he jumped into a dance party for “Lucky Strike” and hit single “Wild” in the middle of the set.
Comerica Theatre was bathed in rainbow light, Pride flags hoisted high and acceptance became the theme of the evening. Troye Sivan shows are places of safety and love, and Phoenix was no exception. Seated on a living room style stage piece, Sivan rose from the floor to perform “Postcard” with his pianist taking the dual vocal role. He remained there for acoustic breakup song “The Good Side” and “What a Heavenly Way to Die” before returning to his adoring audience to continue the dance party.
All too soon, we’d reached the end of the night, as Sivan closed with the Ariana Grande assisted “Dance to This” (with vocal help from his multi-talented pianist) and “Animal”. Obliging the rising decibel level of the fans, Sivan was back out in a flash for “Youth” and the epic Phoenix debut of “My My My!”
Every minute of the Bloom Tour was a joy. Sivan is an icon in the LGBT community and beyond and his relatable music and message of pure love and acceptance make his shows a special experience that only gets sweeter as his career grows. There were smiles all around (and more than a few happy tears) as fans made their exit. We here at Atlas are already excited for Sivan’s return to the Valley, hopefully on an even larger stage.
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel