Noah Kahan’s first headlining arena tour brought the energy

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      Noah Kahan brought his first headlined-arena tour to the UBC Thunderbird Stadium on Wednesday. Sold out months in advance, it was packed with fans ready to scream at the top of their lungs (and they did).

      Opening the show was Joy Oladokun, an American singer-songwriter who dabbles in folk, R&B, rock, and pop. While many were expecting to hear the song that she recorded with Kahan, “Someone Like You,” she instead played songs from her new album, as well as a cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”

      Her first song, “Taking Things For Granted”, was about how no one came to her eighth birthday. But the powerful lyrics, “Sometimes it feels like I never got out of the water/even though I did,” accurately captured the vibe of the concert—the way things we’ve been through shape how we grow up and view the world.

      Oladokun went on to sing about how much she hates change, and about being queer and wanting her friends to still love and accept her. At one point she yelled out, “Are you kidding me, you care that I’m gay? Get a job!” to laughs from the crowd.

      She also played “Keeping a Light On”, which opens the new album she released earlier this year, Proof of Life. She noted that it was played on ESPN—a bit of a random flex, if you ask us.

      She then threw her guitar pick into the crowd and the stage went dark again, in preparation of the main event.

      “My parents are super divorced right now,” was the first thing out of Kahan’s mouth as he dove into “All My Love”.

      Kahan then thanked the crowd, saying, “I am Jewish Capaldi and I am fucking stoked to be here”—a nod to the fact he’s been previously referred to as Jewish Ed Sheeran, Folk Malone, and Harrier Styles—before launching into the song “Everywhere, Everything”.

      To the American singer’s delight, even those with seats spent the majority of the concert standing and dancing, unable to contain themselves. Between songs, he shared how he’d opened a show at the same stadium four years prior, vowing to come back and headline someday. Throughout the concert, he remained in awe that so many people came out especially to see him—adding a couple self-deprecating jokes into the mix.

      As soon as “No Complaints” was played, phone lights filled the arena, as everyone went silent to bask in the comfort of his vulnerable lyrics.

      Photo by Bridget Stringer-Holden.

      “Growing Sideways” also pulled at everyone’s heartstrings, with Kahan sharing that he started going to therapy when he was eight years old—confused at what he’d done wrong. He didn’t want to go, and lied to his therapist for 10 years that he was taking care of himself, when in reality he was sad and lonely.

      “When I turned 23, I started telling the truth and felt happier for the first time in my life,” he shared (he’s now 26). “I hope you’re honest with yourselves, as I wish I had been honest with myself earlier.”

      It was originally a toss-up for the song with the loudest cheers between “False Confidence” and “Northern Attitude”. But after the final encore song, “Stick Season”, there was no competition. Oladokun returned to the stage halfway through, followed by a guitarist doing a banjo solo—and the deafening cheers blended together, leaving everyone feeling exhausted but euphoric.