The hot Arizona desert is so far removed (both physically and metaphorically) from the dreary cold Northeast, but that didn’t stop fans from shout-singing “Stick Season” along with Noah Kahan at a sold-out Arizona Financial Theatre.
The Stick Season Tour, sharing its name with Kahan’s most recent album, also features frequent collaborator Joy Oladokun. And the pairing makes sense beyond their work together — Oladokun is a fellow singer-songwriter whose music touches the heart. Dressed in a custom Diamondbacks jersey and matching snapback to celebrate her homecoming, Oladokun treated us to covers (“The Middle” and “Rocket Man”) and originals from her album, Proof of Life. “I like to get stoned and write songs,” she admitted at one point, smiling, before telling the stories behind her music. The crowd cheered in response to offer up a warm welcome to the artist.
By this point, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. Fans arrived with plenty of time to catch all or most of the opening set, and they were appreciative and respectful as they stayed focused on the stage. It was as if they were unwilling to miss a single moment.
Noah Kahan arrived right on time, launching into the upbeat “All My Love” and “Everywhere, Everything” as the crowd formed a choir and sang along. Kahan, whose popularity exploded seemingly overnight thanks to TikTok, is still as unassuming as they come. He’s a bit self-deprecating — “I’m only 26, but I know I look like I’ve been through three divorces” — and still shy despite his global renown. And when he chronicles his journeys of growing up, you believe him and can relate. That’s why he sells out his shows almost immediately, why fans are so enthusiastic.
After a dozen songs and a power outage that caused a brief lull, Noah Kahan and his crowd choir put their whole hearts into the titular “Stick Season” to close out the set. Next time we hear it live, it’ll be at an arena.
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Story and photos by Taylor Knauf