Keshi – HELL & BACK Concert
Written by Madison Crull on May 2, 2023
By: Shem Villacarlos
The rising anticipation for Keshi on his HELL & BACK tour right after his HELL/HEAVEN tour takes over the Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom in Chicago on March 24, 2023. After almost a full year since his last time in Chicago, a room of thousands flooded the venue anticipating his performance. The first time I saw him in Chicago was when he opened for the band LANY in the same venue and I was committed to see him live as one of his listeners since 2017. In his previous tour, when he performed in Chicago, he had performed in the House of Blues in downtown.
Out of all the venues I have been to in the Chicagoland area, I love the interior design of the Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom the most. It has ambient lighting with stunning art from the floor to the ceiling. Many artists and bands have performed at this venue with extravagant light visuals too. The venue was very fitting for the artists to interact with the audience and took full advantage of their space.
I was fortunate enough to be in the venue during soundcheck and he had played through a couple of songs from his setlist. It was only a sample of what was in store for the show, and the openers hyped the audience up for Keshi’s main appearance. His openers were also some of my favorite artists, James Ivy and Deb Never, who took the crowd by storm. I recalled many of the audience members exchanging comments left and right on how they loved them even if they never listened to them before. Keshi’s openers definitely left a strong and memorable impression on the crowd.
Afterward, the moment of truth came when lights flickered, the crowd screamed in excitement and barks are roared in volumes. Yes, I really do mean the crowd barking in Keshi’s presence. The audience was very engaged in every song on his setlist and I felt the order he chose to perform his songs were on point. He even performed an unreleased song and I can’t wait to listen to it on repeat once it’s out. Keshi is very familiar with how get the crowd involved and which songs we can call our anthems as his listeners. The energy from the audience and the performance were always in sync. One thing that did concern me was some people drained their energy more and some of the security could not help enough of them, especially when it involved individuals fainting. But people I have met in the audience and the crowd in general were very supportive of each other.
Overall, I loved the performance and energy in the venue. It was very much needed, but I’m still recovering from the concert blues. I can’t wait to see more of what he will do on his musical journey and to see more of his performances in Chicago, because he did say we continue to be his loudest audience.
Favorite Song Performed: “drunk.”