Sometimes a musician releases an album and it is just the perfect sound for your shower karaoke sessions, yet when it comes to a live show, it doesn’t translate well. For Daniel Caesar, the Canadian, dreadlocked, falsetto performing R&B singer, this definitely isn’t the case. The sold-out London stop of his ‘Freudian, A World Tour’, translated Caesar’s sensual musical gospel perfectly.
As the eager crowd in London’s Koko, paired with a not-so appropriate DJ, became ever so impatient they could only wait so long before beginning to chant Daniel’s name. With a stage set of Persian rugs, sepia hued spotlights and a small table with a cup of tea positioned, Daniel’s vision became clearer. While he’s no longer at the point of performing in small venues, he’s set on making his larger venues feel as intimate as possible. Taking to the stage in casual jeans, a hoodie and red Adidas trainers, Daniel’s soft voice was almost drowned by the sea of screaming fans. The love from London was real.
After opening with ‘Best Part’, Daniel greeted his fans, even responding with the occasional, yet heartfelt “I love you too”. Taking a sip of his tea he lit some sage, and began to spread the scent across the stage; slow jam therapy is exactly what Dr Caesar had ordered tonight.
You would be wrong to assume a Daniel Caesar crowd would be thirty-something couples, locked in arms, swaying from side-to-side. With a crowd filled equally of men and women, ages ranged from late teens up, black, white, pink or yellow; a Daniel Caesar fan has no set description. Looking out to a sea of phones spread across the audience and invisible microphones at the ready, the audience sang along while Daniel performed his tracks from ‘Freudian’ to his 2015 ‘Pilgrim’s Paradise’ and his 2014 ‘Paradise Break’.
While we clapped like we were in the church as he performed ‘Hold Me Down’, Daniel was quick to show more love to his fans. Much to the dismay of the stage security, he stepped off the stage to sing directly to the front row – all of them eagerly reaching out a hand to him.
There’s something spiritual about a Daniel Caesar gig, complete with the melodrama of traditional R&B, ‘Freudian, A World Tour’, it allows Caesar to explore the complexities of the id and superego alongside the gospel images of the good – and bad – experiences of love he paints.
While performing his penultimate track ‘Blessed’, Caesar shouted out his impressive band and backing singers. Leaving the stage (yes, without singing his break-out single ‘Get You’) Daniel stuck to R&B traditions where the audience was left alone to demand an encore. With everyone incessantly screaming ‘Get You’, under red hazy lights, with a huge smile on his face, Daniel grabbed the mic and oozed out his honey-laced vocals, while praising a universal romantic love.
And with the last ‘Get You’ echoing throughout Koko, Daniel closed for the first night of his London show.