As part of his “Bloom” tour, gay pop star and college-kids’ favorite Troye Sivan performed at the Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theater at San Diego State University on Thursday night. Sivan sang the entirety of his new album, Bloom, a collection of bops that encompass themes of sexuality, queerness, and self-discovery. Carlie Hanson, an American indie-pop artist, opened first and was followed by Kim Petras, a German singer and songwriter. Both artists engaged with the crowd by playing catchy and upbeat melodies.
Sivan, 23, is a South African-born and Australian-raised versatile pop sensation who started his road to fame when he acted as a young wolverine in the 2009 film “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” In 2007, he began posting videos of himself singing on YouTube and in 2015, he released his debut studio album Blue Neighbourhood, a compilation of moody, electro-pop songs that narrate his struggles with heartache, coming-out, and remaining true to himself.
Sivan kicked off the show on Thursday by stealthily lifting a portion of the red curtain and materializing in front of the microphone, illuminated by a single spotlight. The crowd began cheering and belting along as he sang the opening lyrics to “Seventeen,” a ballad about his 17-year old self discovering his sexuality with an older man whom he had met online.
He then transitioned into his pop single, “Bloom,” as the magenta lights faded and were replaced by a flashing blue and white glow. At the end of the following melody — during which the pop star dramatically tore off his gray blazer and flung it onto the stage behind him — he introduced himself and greeted the crowd, yelling, “Thank you so much, San Diego! How’s it going?”
After chatting with the audience for a few minutes, Sivan launched into “Heaven,” a song recorded on the Blue Neighbourhood album that recalls his struggles with accepting his sexuality. At the end, the lights reflected a rainbow glare, representing queerness, pride, and visibility. A few throwback songs and interactions with the audience later, Sivan turned serious as he sang more tunes from his new album, including “Postcard” and “The Good Side,” the latter of which is a liberating tribute to his ex-boyfriend.
Sivan concluded with his lead single, “My My My!” with a performance that transcended reality and electrified the thrill of excitement from the crowd. The luminescent radiation of silver and black glittering lights filled the arena as the singer calmly sat on stage, letting the music build. When the bridge started, Sivan moved sensually and steadily down the stairs, his foot striking each step in time with the beat.
Throughout the whole concert, Troye swayed his hips and threw his head back as if experiencing a mini concert with himself alone while still amplifying the crowd and creating an authentic atmosphere for all. His movements were calculated yet free-flowing, and he maintained his connection until the close when he thanked the stadium and disappeared off the stage.
The hour and a half performance was nostalgic, upbeat, and euphonic. While the concert started at 7:30 p.m., the venue began filling up closer to 9:00 p.m. when Sivan appeared onstage.
The outside amphitheater created an open, inclusive, and genuine vibe, enhancing the sense of community and intensifying the soul-searching journey the show offered. The venue was a sea of colors with many people of all ages donning Sivan merchandise and waving pride flags.
As Sivan identifies as both an activist and a member of Gen Z, he possesses a strong connection to the current youth, many of whom are college students and social justice advocates. Besides San Diego, he also performed in Anaheim and Los Angeles. In this way, he provided a space for young adults, namely college students, throughout all of SoCal to express their hope for a brighter future through music.
Sivan will finish the west coast leg of the “Bloom” tour on Nov. 7 before ending the next day in Vancouver, BC. In terms of future projects, the multifaceted artist plays a role in and has contributed to the soundtrack of “Boy Erased,” a new movie about a young man who is outed to his religious father and is forced to participate in a gay conversion therapy program. The film is set to release on Nov. 2.
Overall, the concert offered a symphonic period of blissful self-reflexivity and passion for people throughout SoCal to attend and enjoy. Every change in tempo ignited a blossom of excitement within the tight-knit crowd and at the end, a feeling of elation hung in the air as the music from the night echoed into the twinkling sky.