The doors of Webster Hall opened promptly at 10pm. By 10:45, the room was crowded and the temperature was going up. By 11:15, the crowd was sweating and getting impatient. Finally, shortly after 11:30, Emre Türkmen and Mikey Goldsworthy took their positions on each side of the stage. Then, Olly Alexander’s vocals filled the main room of Webster Hall with the first line from “Foundation”, the opening track off Years & Years’ debut album Communion. After delivering the first few lines, he slowly slinked his way to the stage in a skin-tight, white mesh shirt and flag-adorned sweat pants.
For a show that was branded “After Dark” and “presented by Governor’s Ball” with a (scheduled) start time of 10:30pm, I admit that I did not expect a set list as extensive as we were gifted. They played 11 out of the 15 original songs on their debut album Communion, and a mashup of two covers. If that’s not getting your money’s worth for a $25 show, I don’t know what is.
The energy in the room was nothing short of dynamic. Olly proved that he is a tried and true front man throughout the show. His ability to both feed off of and into the audience’s energy during the performance was magic and moving. Literally moving. Throughout most of the show, especially during peak upbeat moments, the crowd was so active that the floor shook.
Song after song, Olly sang and danced and the audience sang and danced right back, unwaveringly. Whether it be singles such as “Take Shelter”, “Shine”, and “Real” or album cuts “Gold”, “Ties”, and even deluxe edition bonus track “I Want To Love”, the room was a giant sing-a-long dance party. They put their own spin on Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse”, and seamlessly re-arranged it to fit their musical style. Even better, they seamlessly integrated Drake’s “Hotline Bling”.
One fan even got the experience of a lifetime during the sole down-tempo moment of the show. She had a sign asking to sit next to Olly while the band performed “Eyes Shut”. He jumped into the crowd, brought her up, and sat her down next to him as he poured his heart out and played the piano. The show closed with their latest single “Desire”, followed by a performance of “King” the audience was so loud, Olly took out his ear piece because he clearly had no chance of hearing himself.
After the show, the street was mobbed with fans overflowing from the venue. It was a clear that many of them (myself included) wanted a moment of face time with the band. Clearly the guys had the right idea of rushing out and hopping into a car. You know you’ve made it when you can’t do post-show impromptu meet-and-greets because there are too many fans lingering.
What’s better than getting a good set list? Being less than 50 feet away from a band you love, who are playing an incredible set in a venue half the size of one they sold out 8 months ago, and who played to a crowd of thousands the day before.
Dark Horse/ Hotling Bling (Katy Perry/Drake mashup)
I Want To Love