By Cami Gore

On Thursday, October 4th, Troye Sivan owned the stage at The Anthem in Washington D.C. Every song had fresh energy, with Sivan dancing around the stage, smoothly transitioning from one number to the next. Above all, the 23-year-old South African singer created a safe space for audience members to let go and be themselves.

Opening act Leland has co-written multiple songs with Sivan including hits “Youth” and “Dance to This.” Fiercely snapping his neck and shoulder rolling around the stage, Leland, wearing a sequined rainbow shirt, announced “I’m so excited to see all the gays come out and the allies come out.” Second opener Kim Petras radiated strength and confidence as she strutted back and forth across the stage. Her voice filled the auditorium, and her vocal belting was effortlessly breathtaking.

The long-anticipated Troye Sivan came out in a red suit that almost blended into the stage’s curtain and then stood in front of it belting out “Seventeen.” In the middle of the song the curtain dropped, revealing his band behind him. Transitioning into “Bloom,” the titular song off his latest album, Sivan seductively took off the red jacket so he was left with a simple white T-shirt. After performing his first three songs, he gazed into the crowd, announcing “This is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen in my life,” referring to the packed venue which he said during soundcheck he never thought he would be able to fill.

Sivan’s next song was from his first album, “Blue Neighborhood,” which he said he wrote when he was between ages 14 and 15 and coming out. “Yup, I’m gay. Can you believe it?” he joked. Before beginning the song, “Heaven,” Sivan encouraged the audience to be themselves. He promised, “No matter how weird you think you are I can guarantee there’s someone weirder in the crowd, so just go for it.” The song highlighted the struggles he faced when first realizing his sexuality, specifically his struggle with religion, wondering if he would make it to heaven. The song touched the crowd immensely – many people around me were in tears.

Sivan utilized his talented band, having his pianist play a beautiful solo while he changed costume. Afterward, Sivan slowed things down a bit, having a couch and multiple lamps lifted on stage, creating a new set. It was then that he played “Good Side,” a song which fan Ishanee Chanda described as “hauntingly beautiful.” Before he started singing he said, “Everyone’s going through a little something every now and then … [let’s] be a little mopey for a second and feel sorry for ourselves.”

The audience’s energy was brought back up when Sivan covered “Better Now” by Post Malone. He brought a funky twist to the song, and the audience got really into it. Sivan closed with “Animal” from his new album, but that was not enough for the crowd. They erupted into applause and chants, and Sivan came back on to perform hits “Youth” and “My My My!” Sivan reflected on the night, saying, “I was not feeling today and this just turned my day around … One of my favorite shows of the tour, hands down.”

The show was extremely special and meant so much to his fans. Ishanee Chanda explained to me that Sivan was one of the first celebrities to publicly come out on YouTube. Another fan, CJ, told me he had been following Sivan since his beginning on YouTube. Sivan “spreads so much hope and pride for the LGBT community … He’s a beacon of hope for everyone,” he said. CJ’s boyfriend, Drew, said Sivan’s first album, “Blue Neighborhood” was a lot about growing up gay, and described his new record “Bloom” as a “sexual awakening.”

Towson University student Logan Heflin said Troye Sivan’s music helped him get through “a lot of emotional stress last semester.” As for the performance, Heflin said “it was honestly my favorite concert” and that he’s “never seen better visuals in my life, especially at a smaller venue.” Anne Arundel Community College student Sierra Basilio agreed, adding, “He’s always spreading positive vibes and is such a great role model within his music.”

Featured Photo Credit: Troye Sivan on stage October 4 (Casey Tomchek/Bloc Photographer).

Cami Gore is a freshman journalism and dance major and can be reached at camgore13@gmail.com.

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