Madison Square Garden may have just spent 15 consecutive sold-out shows as Harry’s House, but on Tuesday night (Sept. 27), Ben Platt turned the famous Manhattan arena into his “Childhood Bedroom.” Yes, that was the track the Broadway star used to kick off the New York City stop of his long-awaited Reverie Tour.
It’s been more than a year since the Dear Evan Hansen star released his sophomore album, Reverie, and almost exactly three years to the day since he was last on tour in NYC, filming his show at Radio City Music Hall for his 2020 Netflix concert special. And his joy at being back on stage was palpable.
“New York City is the greatest city on Earth, but you all know this. And it has been a huge honor to play each and every venue that I’ve had the privilege to play. So now to be at Madison Square Garden just feels deeply unreal and like it’s not happening, but it is!” he said as the crowd erupted into applause.
“Performing is, just, so much a part of who I am and it has been since I was, like, five years old. It’s part of my humanity, and so to not be able to do it for the last three years has just been a challenge,” he added later in his set. ”And I’ve felt I lost some of that love for what I do and that confidence in myself and I’ve been waiting to get back on stage, and so I’m so grateful that you came and let me do that again.”
For ninety minutes, Platt kept the audience rapt with his sky-high vocal prowess, quirky theater kid-turned-unlikely pop star persona, spectacular covers and even an added dash or two of Broadway magic. Billboard was on the scene to round up all the best moments from the show.
Aly & AJ’s Opening Set
Before Platt made his grand entrance, Aly & AJ warmed up the crowd with an impressive eight-song set highlighting their 2021 album, A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into the Sun. Running through tracks like “Slow Dancing,” “Don’t Need Nothing” and “Break Yourself,” the sisters’ lithe voices intertwined gorgeously, particularly on fan favorite album opener “Pretty Places.” They premiered a brand-new, as-yet-untitled track off their in-the-works fifth studio effort, and no Aly & AJ set in the year 2022 would have been complete without their mid-’00s banger “Potential Breakup Song,” which the siblings smartly used as their big finale number, explicit lyrics included.
The Wizard and Ben
With Broadway just blocks away, Platt’s show would have felt incomplete without any reference to his theater roots. And while the Tony winner has included a gender-swapped cover of “She Used to Be Mine” from Waitress at every stop on the tour, he offered the New York crowd an extra treat by also tackling Wicked’s “The Wizard and I.” “This is a role that I’ll never get to play, but I’ve always dreamed of playing. Let’s do it,” he said before gleefully stepping into Elphaba’s shoes and belting the modern classic all the way to Shiz and back.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
Early in the show, Platt opened up about his relationship with longtime boyfriend (and fellow Dear Evan Hansen alum) Noah Galvin while introducing Reverie single “Happy to Be Sad.” But in the most adorable moment of the evening, the couple’s love was on full display as Galvin later crashed the stage during the appropriately titled album cut “Dance with You.”
“If I’m gonna dance/ I wanna dance with you/ Put your hand in my hand/ Turn me around the room/ If there’s gonna be dancing/ Hey! Then I wanna dance with you,” Platt crooned as Galvin twirled around with him in a tight embrace before firmly planting a kiss on his boyfriend. “I don’t know who that man was that stormed the stage,” Platt joked after finishing the number. “Someone get security — good kisser though!”
You Can Go Your Own Way
Immediately following Galvin’s sweet surprise, Platt invited Aly & AJ back to the stage for a magnetic cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way.” With the former Disney Channel stars providing backup vocals, the trio injected the Rumours classic with plenty of attitude, mesmerizing harmonies and a full-blown instrumental break featuring Aly & AJ on dueling guitars.
Baby, He Was Born This Way
Of all the moments of thunderous applause throughout the show — and there were several — none got quite as big of a reaction from the crowd as Platt’s high-flying cover of Lady Gaga’s “Yoü and I.” First recruited by Mother Monster to record the country-rock foot-stomper for the tenth anniversary re–release of Born This Way last year, Platt admitted he just had to perform it when he heard Gaga hadn’t put it on the setlist for the Chromatica Ball.
Kicking his feet up to star the number reclined on a piano, the singer got the chance to flaunt his very best riffs, runs and vocal acrobatics — at one point even doing so while lying prone on the stage — and truly earn the standing ovation that followed.
Platt’s Reverie Tour will next hit Boston, Atlantic City and Orlando before wrapping up Oct. 7 at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fla.