On Tuesday September 20th, Conan Gray played the last of the Florida dates on his Superache tour to a sold out House of Blues in Orlando, Florida. About 15 minutes before the opening set, the venue was already packed wall-to-wall with a crowd of mostly young girls, all screaming with excitement. Security walked up and down the stage, handing out cups of water from a coolers that were set up along the barricade in an effort to keep everyone in the crowded pit safe and hydrated. This gesture was greatly appreciated by many who yelled back their thanks. One girl typed out “You guys slay” on her phone and held it up so the men would see when they passed. As showtime grew near, the crowd’s enthusiasm only intensified. After waiting for hours, some having arrived before Disney Springs even opened, the fans were clearly ready for the show to finally begin. They cheered for every detectable change in lighting or sound and every member of the crew that appeared to finish setting up. You would’ve thought the man who brought out the stool for Kacy’s set was Conan himself the way they screamed when he walked across the stage.
Armed with only a keyboard, controller, and her voice, Kacy Hill began at 7:30PM. The soft lighting and minimalist design complemented Kacy’s dreamy sound, creating an atmosphere that was almost ethereal. White beams shone straight down most of the time, mixing with red and blue lights to create gradients of lighter pinks and purples. Multiple times throughout her performance Kacy shared incredibly wholesome interactions with the crowd, replying “You’re so pretty” back to the girls who first yelled it out to her and holding her hand up in half a heart to complete another half raised up in the audience. Songs off of Kacy’s setlist included “Porsche”, “Six”, and “Simple, Sweet, and Smiling”, the title track from her most recent album and words that perfectly describe the feeling of this opening set.
As soon as Kacy left the stage and the applause died down, the crowd began chanting for Conan. At this point they were fully amped and ready to go, stopping the chant only to sing along to the recorded track list that played between sets. When “Brutal,” a song by Conan’s friend and fellow viral sensation Olivia Rodrigo played over the speakers, the crowd erupted, screaming every word – especially loudly for the second verse’s “I can’t even parallel park.” Minutes later, the screams grew even louder as the lights dimmed down and the intro music started. Conan walked out from the right of the stage to the center of a raised platform, silhouetted by a large heart screen directly behind him. Throughout the night the videos on this screen would change to show imagery matching each song, featuring a door and exit sign for “The Exit,” scissors for “Jigsaw,” and chess pieces for “Checkmate” to name a few.
The first track “Disaster” began as the lights came up to reveal Conan in tall, heeled boots and a matching vest, pant and glove set. The black outfit with blue detail is one of five upcycled looks designed by Lisa Hoang for this tour. As the set continued, Conan performed new and old songs alike and fans in the crowd sang along to all of them. After a few more high paced tracks, the curtains closed in front of the screen and projections of a galaxy lit up the stage as the music slowed for “Astronomy.” Immediately after, “Best Friend” brought the energy right back up. Overall the set was incredibly balanced with fast and slow moments, both fun and serious. During “People Watching” the crowd raised various pride flags and roses to show their support and appreciation for a figure so vocal when it comes to inclusiveness, equality and acceptance. Towards the end of his set, Conan took some time before “Family Line” to discuss another important and heavy topic that is featured in his discography. Throughout his career, Conan has remained open about his difficult childhood. He spoke during this intro about how he grew up thinking that life would always stay that way, that it would always be painful. After running away from it for so long, he’s grown to realize that a person is not defined by their past at all. No matter who you are or where you come from, you can be whoever you want to be – and he is living proof of that. For an audience of so many young teenagers, it cannot be overstated how important these words are coming from someone they look up to.
After such a hefty speech and song, “Heather” and “Maniac” closed the set on a much lighter note. Having both been viral hits on Tik Tok with a combined 1.5 million streams on Spotify, these tracks are among his most popular and were highly anticipated by the crowd. Before “Maniac” Conan had joked that it was the last song of the night, sarcastically hinting at an encore that came just over a minute after the song ended. Even though it was a short encore of just one song, it was a strong end to the night. “Memories” is one of the most popular tracks off of Superache and, while projections of sparks turned to those of flames consuming the curtains (alluding to the Polaroids of an ex lover being burned in the music video), Conan took a phone from the crowd to film himself onstage. This seems to be something he does during this song each night, leaving one lucky fan with an extra special memory. An extended outro played at the end of the track, leaving time for Conan to walk the stage, waving goodnight and thanking the crowd before running off stage one final time.
3) Fight or Flight
4) The Exit
5) Wish You Were Sober
7) Best Friend
8) People Watching
9) The Story
15) Family Line
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My name is Courtney and I am a concert photographer based outside of Orlando, FL. For decades I’ve been an avid enjoyer of music and photography (separately), but recently found the joy that comes from putting them together. There is nothing that beats the rush of live music, but being able to relive that time through photographs sure comes close. Join me as I dive into the Central Florida music scene!