My heart is always at its fullest when I see wholesome individuals doing what they’re passionate about. Witnessing artists putting so much time, energy, and love into what they’re doing, and having it be widely recognized all over the world is immensely heartwarming. Being able to see Noah Kahan bring all of his personal warmth and love on stage nearly brought me to tears, and you can feel through his music that he was just as emotional.
I knew that Kahan had grown immensely in popularity over the past year or two due to Tik Tok, a platform thats been helping fuel musicians since its birth. However, I was unaware just how much. It wasn’t until I walked into a nearly sold out arena in Vancouver full of bubbling young adults that I truly understood the breadth his music had made.
I’ve attended a few concerts for artists that became particularly well known because of Tik Tok, the pattern of crowd behaviour has become a tension point for me. The audiences have always seemed to have poor etiquette, show up for maybe one or two songs, and then use the rest of the event time to carouse and be frustratingly disruptive. Though Kahan is definitely geared towards a different genre than these other artists, I was still apprehensive about the show, especially with how full it was.
I was pleasantly proved extremely wrong.
The crowd was so full of love and adoration, even before Kahan made a physical appearance. Cheers were thrown at the opening act, Joy Oladokun, and at the crew setting up in between acts. Everyone who had showed up was there to support Kahan and scream their hearts out along with him. From the stands, I could see new friendships being made amongst people who just wanted to sing loudly and dance through the ensuing folk ridden instrumentals.
When the lights went down and a growing flurry of music caressed the air, the crowd erupted, welcoming Kahan and his opening song All My Love. It was evident how appreciative he was to see such adoring fans, and be able to be in the same room with all of us, as in between each and every song he would stop and make the sweetest little anecdotes. He introduced himself with quirky nicknames such as “Folk Malone,” “Jewish Ed Sheeran,” and “Hairier Styles.” Other times he would connect personal stories to songs, explaining the inspirations behind some of the fan favorites.
What I found to be the most tear jerking, (my eyes are welling up as I write this,) was when he mentioned that the Thunderbird was his first time headlining in an arena. He mentioned that he had played at this venue 4 years back, but as a smaller artist simply opening, there was almost no one out to see him. This drastic change of one show being empty, and the same venue years later being nearly sold out, is such a visible milestone and attestation of progress. Everyone there was so proud. And to really bring in the emotional water works, he introduced his encore song Stick Season by calling it “The song that changed my life.” The impact of that statement is still hitting my heart hard, a sentence that was immediately followed by one of the most passionate sing along moments I’ve ever witnessed at a concert.
What truly tied the whole show together was during the melancholic walk out of the arena at the end of the show, eavesdropping on many different conversations of people asking each other the question of “What was your favorite song played??” The immediate and excited responses from fans all over filled me with deep affection; a feeling felt by all attendees as they trickled home to dream of Kahan and his comforting, heartfelt lyrics and guitar strummings.