The theme for Monday night’s (Nov. 11) Julia Michaels concert was catharsis, which was made clear even prior to the songstress performing at the sold-out Los Angeles’ Fonda. A sign stood centerstage that read, “Encouraged: Singing, Dancing, Jumping, Feeling, Laughing.”
And fans sure did deliver on the encouragement. At around 10 p.m., Michaels opened her show with her tongue-in-cheek “Pink,” dressed in a Cher Horowitz-style plaid blazer-and-skort combo. She and her band danced around the colorful, floral set, and the crowd jumped along and screamed the playful lyrics, “There’s no innuendos, it’s exactly what you think/Believe me when I tell you that he loves the color pink.” Within the first three minutes, the energy already felt truly, simply fun.
The 17-song set (below) combined all the favorites from her releases, 2017’s Nervous System and 2019’s Inner Monologue series, including “Uh Huh,” “Falling for Boys” and, of course, the self-aware tune that skyrocketed Michaels into a constant voice on the radio, “Issues.”
On top of all the excitement, Wednesday (Nov. 13) is Michaels’ 26th birthday. Fans came prepared early with signs and sang a venue-wide rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to the songstress, who was knelt on stage smiling from ear-to-ear. “Well that was the most special ‘Happy Birthday’ that’s ever been sung to me!” she said.
This was the point of the night where the therapy session truly started, as the songstress revealed something about herself. “I used to have really bad stage fright,” she admitted. “I learned, one time that I did an event. Actually the AMAs, I sang at the AMAs. I was so nervous, my legs were shaking, my hands were shaking, I thought I was going to pass out. There was a girl in the crowd and said, ‘You got this.’ And it completely changed the way I feel when I sing with people because she looked at me as if we were doing it together.”
“So every time you guys sing with me, I feel like we’re doing that s— together. I want this to be that place where we can do that. I want this to be the place where we can sing, and dance and cry and feeling whatever the f— we want to feel,” she continued, through tears. “F— insecurities, we have too many.”
The crowd, of every age and gender, received the message with Fonda-shaking screams of support for the singer who so openly discloses the struggles of mental health that too many of us feel and might be too ashamed to admit. And by the looks of her smiling, emotional fans, Michaels’ candid emotional release through her music changes the stigma, making her supporters feel less alone, and even normal.
The theme of catharsis came up once more with a very special rendition of “Anxiety,” during which Michaels called up her pal, Selena Gomez, a mental health advocate herself. The duo sat casually on a bench, arms around each other, and crooned their duet, singing along with the passionate audience, “Feel like I’m always apologizing for feeling/Like I’m out of my mind when I’m doing just fine/And my exes all say that I’m hard to deal with/And I admit it, yeah.”
The duo ended their tune with a supportive hug and kiss, a visual representation of a friendship that could get anyone through the darkest times. See a clip of their performance via a fan Twitter account, plus the full set list below.
Selena gomez & julia michaels ?? pic.twitter.com/C5g1MkPWFJ
— — (@Golldenstunner) November 12, 2019
I Miss You
Make It Up to You
Worst in Me
Fuck You (CeeLo Green cover)
Falling for Boys
What a Time