The Kid LAROI kicks off high-energy “Bleed For You” tour in Syracuse
The Kid LAROI kicks off high-energy “Bleed For You” tour
Last night marked the start of The Kid LAROI’s “Bleed For You” college tour, held at the Upstate Medical Arena at The OnCenter War Memorial.
Charlton Howard, referred to by fans as The Kid LAROI, came to Syracuse University campus yesterday afternoon, engaging with students on Waverly Avenue. “I honestly wasn’t expecting this many people to show up”, the Australian performer shouted in front of Newhouse School, standing above a sea of phone cameras. He then proceeded to throw free merchandise and concert tickets into the crowd, riding to his car on the shoulders of his security team.
The Kid LAROI’s performance happened after two preceding acts. The first was a cover of the musician’s “Love Again” performed by aspiring artist Cooarti, the winner of a contest involving video-submissions designed specifically for the tour. Jeremy Zucker followed as the official opening act, playing fan favorites “comethru” and “supercuts” in his first performance in an arena.
Yet, the young crowd was clearly waiting for the headliner. The moment The Kid LAROI’s silhouette appeared on the white background, the audience roared, and he began with newly released single “I Can’t Go Back to The Way It Was.” The stage setup matched the artist’s emo-rap edge, with a faint tree-branch backdrop and two enormous wolves in a cage used as an elevated surface. While the production relied heavily on colored and strobe lights, the performer’s energy was drawn from the crowd.
“It was so cool to be at the first show of the tour and see all of the team’s hard work come together; [The Kid LAROI] did an amazing job keeping the audience engaged throughout the duration of the show,” said SU sophomore Ilana Epstein.
Several songs on the 21-part setlist involved A capella vocals carried by the audience. After introducing his band, the artist asked his drummer if he could borrow the drumkit for a game of “guess the song,” playing the beginning of “SO DONE.” The audience certainly won the game, booming the lyrics to “F*CK LOVE 3+: OVER YOU,” from his most recent album.
The 19-year-old singer also paid tribute to late rapper Juice WRLD, who helped develop The Kid LAROI’s unique sound and international recognition. Before performing their duet “Go,” he led his audience in an emotional chant of the words “Long Live Juice.” “All I’m going to say is that as a Juice WRLD fan I was crying when he performed ‘Go’,” said SU sophomore Maggie Bugos.
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The Kid LAROI was not just performing for his audience, but with his audience. After the crowd began chanting his name, he looked out at the arena with a proud expression. He then handed the microphone to a fan in the front of the pit, asking her the name of the first person to break her heart. The Kid LAROI joined in the audience’s passionate response to the words “f*ck Zach” as thousands of middle fingers raised high in the air.
The Kid LAROI alternated between his hip-hop and pop hits, the latter being the most engaging for the audience. The crowd jumped along with the singer during his performance of “Stay” — the catchy-pop collaboration with Justin Bieber that earned number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven non-consecutive weeks — as well as “Love Again” and “Thousand Miles.”
Unreleased songs were also included in the setlist. Among them was “Where Does Your Spirit Go,” an emotionally intense piano ballad. The singer requested the audience’s phones to be put away during the song to “live in the moment.”
“One of the best parts of the show was when he asked everyone to put their phones away and listen to the lyrics he was singing — not only did the song seem to mean so much to him, but people respecting his request and appreciating the music for him was really special,” said SU junior Maddie Doolittle.
To close the show, The Kid LAROI performed an encore of “WITHOUT YOU,” another top-ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100, remixed with Miley Cyrus. However, the concert ended not with The Kid LAROI’s vocals, but with a chorus sung solely by the flashlight-filled audience. In his final moments on stage, the musician expressed his gratitude to his devoted audience, saying “I’ve never been more nervous than for this show, so thank you for being so f*cking welcoming.”