On October 13, I got the opportunity to see Kali Uchis perform at Terminal 5 in NYC for her In Your Dreams Tour, amongst midterm season and despite my sinus infection. Tragic I know, but definitely worth it.
I have been following Kali Uchis since 2015, after her appearance on Tyler, the Creator’s album Cherry Bomb. Her soothing soulful and Motown styled vocals bring an old-school vibe to the new-age pop and R&B scene. Kali released her debut album Isolation this past April and it was amazing, to say the least. Including a range of genres like soul, punk and pop the album was full of unique sounds that translated to hits. As soon as she announced her Isolation tour I knew I had to see the star live.
I went with my close friend Zoya, the only person I know always down for a good show. Although the night started a bit rough (me directing us to the wrong venue) we made it on time for the performance! Terminal 5 is a general admission venue, so there were no seats. It was on the smaller size but the room was mostly full. A plus for me. Something about being shoulder to shoulder with fellow fans makes for a more intimate experience.
The night show began with Gabriel Garzón-Montano, the opening act who performed about 8 songs. Despite his high energy, stage presence, and soulful sound to match Kali, he failed to entertain the crowd. People were uninterested, even a loud and over opinionated fan went so far as yelling at the artist to leave the stage. The crowd didn’t take this well. Even if they weren’t feeling the performance, such rude reactions wouldn’t be tolerated, so an altercation 5 feet away from me stole the crowd’s attention. Between shoving and scream, the energy of the show darkened. This resulted in the opinionated fan being escorted out. Yikes.
After an hour of listening to throwback Rihanna tunes Uchis finally blessed the stage. While an hour of waiting between the opening artist and the main artist seems long, it’s really nothing after I’ve waited hours for Kanye to hit the stage. The crowd went wild at the display of Uchis’ silhouette. She appeared on stage with a sparkly set. This LOOK was as extra as her performance was. She began the show with “Dead To Me” followed by other hits like “Flight 22” and “Feel Like a Fool” from her album. The artist danced sultrily to her music, declaring herself a sex symbol.
The Colombian singer, Uchis performed a song called “Todos Me Miran,” that didn’t sound familiar to me, but someone explained to me that she was doing a cover of the Gloria Trevi hit. She also sang “Nuestro Planeta” from her album to cater to her Latinx fans.
My favorite song of the night and from the album was “Just a Stranger”. She killed it with her vocals and moves, I couldn’t have been happier (unless there was an appearance from Steve Lacy of course).
The artist took a moment to talk to the crowd, she explained how she was sick and recovering. She apologized and proceeded to tell the story of her love life. She was in a relationship for most of her young adult year and seldom dated after. This quick yet personal story served as a preface for “Loner” from her 2014 EP Por Vida.
Despite her sickness, Kali put on an amazing show. She hit all the high notes and sounded angelic. It is rare to find a singer that performs just as well live the way they sound on recordings. After a few more songs, she thanked the crowd and began to leave the stage. I couldn’t believe the show was over already. The audience chanted for an encore, and she came back to perform “Riding Round” and “Melting” both songs from her Por Vida EP.
While the show was great I think it was a very short set compared to other artists I have seen live. The only thing I would do to change it would be adding a few more songs and a few more anecdotes to really give us a peek into her life and songwriting process. All in all, she killed the show! Kali is still a relatively new artist and I would definitely see her live again, especially to see her growth over time.
Concert Review By: Autumn Thomas