Conan Gray whirled into Phoenix on Monday glowing from a weekend Coachella performance and a renewed vigor to be back on the road after so much time away. His nearly sold out North American tour drew hundreds of hysterical (in the best way) fans to The Van Buren for a night of feeling everything all at once.
Before the popstar graced us with his presence, the venue was treated to a set from bülow, another rising star in the indie pop world. The multitalented singer used every inch of the stage to connect with an audience that knew all the words to songs like “Mona’s Dad” (think opposite perspective “Stacy’s Mom”), “Don’t Break His Heart” and the smash hit “You & Jennifer”. Her band was the perfect backing hype, pumping up the crowd throughout the impressive set.
When the onstage screen lit up and the house lights dimmed, the screams from the crowd shook the walls of The Van Buren in anticipation for Gray’s arrival. His astronomical rise to success is well-deserved and was perfectly demonstrated on Monday night. Opening with the melancholy dance banger “Wish You Were Sober”, Gray set the tone for his lengthy set.
Pulling primarily from his first album, Gray is also promoting the upcoming release of his second and the brand new “Memories” showed that the people are hungry for new material. The fans did their part to shower Gray in love and affirmations, holding up cheeky signs and hearts during “Astronomy”- a move that had Gray visibly emotional during the acoustic track.
Gray is charming and effortlessly funny onstage with his Gen Z humor and modest self-deprecation between songs. He described the feeling of cutting off a toxic friend with two bold middle fingers up, eliciting raucous cheers from a crowd that’s definitely been there before.
“Violence is never the answer but sometimes flipping people off is!” he shouted (after apologizing to the large number of parents in the room).
Gray could have performed all night and that audience would have stood at attention for every minute of it, but sadly things came to an end after a room-shaking “Maniac” and an encore of “Heather”.
Conan Gray is a born performer and watching him move people with both his music and his relatable personality was a treat. His star is assuredly on the rise and Phoenix is likely to catch him in even grander capacities on his next visit.
Check out all the photos from the show!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel