In the two long years since Eric Nam last visited Phoenix, he’s taken the independent musician route, released an album and come back stronger than ever. Finally, his There and Back Again Tour kicked off at The Van Buren to a massively sold out crowd on January 24.
The evening began with newcomer and rising TikTok star Lyn Lapid, playing a short set of recent material and several unreleased tracks. After finding viral success online with a sweet, melancholy cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “When She Loved Me”, the singer was tapped for Nam’s tour and delivered a set that charmed the room. Fans were devastated when her time onstage came to an end and it’s safe to say that she left Arizona with a plethora of new listeners.
While Eric Nam found success within a KPOP solo career, his latest music is chilled out pop perfection that highlights his incredible vocal prowess. “Any Other Way”, one of the first singles from There and Back Again was first up and the energy skyrocketed from that moment. Nam is electric onstage, interacting and flirting with the audience as he read countless signs professing love, offering phone numbers and dates and plenty of unmentionables that had everyone onstage chuckling.
Midway through the night, Nam was joined by two stellar backup dancers as he showed off more than a few moves of his own. The joy radiating from the trio, along with his new live band put a smile on every face as the fans sang the words to songs old and new. “Lost on Me” got a great response, but it’s when Nam took an acoustic moment that he really connected with the crowd. He’s also effortlessly funny, saying at one point that he only tours to make fun of everyone in the room- and the fans certainly made it their mission to get noticed in this way.
Nam promised before the tour started that the setlist would have changes every night, so Phoenix got the highly requested “Wildfire” (with a high note to die for), “Paradise” and the campy, dancey “You’re Sexy I’m Sexy”.
The best shows always seem to fly by and before we knew it, Nam was back for an encore of “Love Die Young” and “I Don’t Know You Anymore”. The Van Buren was buzzing and the screams took awhile to subside when the concert ended as excited fans took their place for the meet and greet and a promise of another tour very soon.
Check out all the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel