The line to enter Jannus Live circled around the humid blocks of downtown St. Petersburg, FL well before noon on Tuesday, June 27th. By late afternoon, the line had grown as far as the eye could see; an even mix of sweaty teenagers and adults dressed up in a mix of pink, black, magenta, and more pink, impatiently waiting for the gates to open. A sold out sign hung by the venue’s entrance.
For the night was about YUNGBLUD, one of the hottest alt-pop stars in the world. This was the first stop on his world tour. Unsurprisingly, this show had been sold out for weeks. YUNGBLUD is no stranger to the Bay Area music scene, having played 97X’s Next Big Thing the last two years. Soon the gates opened and groups strategically split up and they entered – each heading to either claim a spot by the stage, buy merch and/or sprint to the bathroom (or the beer line).
As the lights went out, a white and black backdrop lit up and flashed “Open the Pit” over and over. The sold out crowd couldn’t move around much, but their bottled up energy began to grow like a shaken can of soda. The crowd was restless and hot. They chanted for YUNGBLUD and over, each time getting louder than before.
Until, at last, there he was. YUNGBLUD sprinted out the dark, a blurred mixture of bright pinks and dark blacks, before stopping short at center stage; an ultra-bright spotlight almost drowning him out with light.
For a split second he looked deep into the crowd and soaked it all in with a smile: the fans, the screams, and the love – before launching like a rocket into “Superdeadfriends” while the crowd ate it up and lost their minds.
YUNGBLUD never moved slower than a sprinter and the crowd matched his energy, and was engaged and involved the whole show. They sang, let their emotions go, and danced through the humidity on “The Funeral”, “Tissues”, and “Die for the Hype”. Mindful of the heat, and much to the crowds’ delight, YUNGBLUD showered the packed floor with his partially drunk beers throughout his set as he covered the massively loved “Parents” and anthemic “Fleabag”. He touched on topics throughout the show, from social acceptance to individuality to pure love and acceptance. He was touching and beautiful.
It was classic YUNGBLUD, but even better.
Opener Sophie Powers, the teenage wonder quickly becoming a big voice of Gen Z opened the show and sang her heart out. With a natural stage presence that reeked of a happy coolness, her fans devoured every lyric. She never stayed still, almost foreshadowing the energy of the headliner.
Following Sophie was The Regrettes, the unapologetic and fun Los Angeles band captivated the crowd with their wit and talent.
Their cover of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” was special and unique, with influences of surf, pop, punk, and garage genres in a way only they could. Their nine-song set seemed to end too quickly. The crowd wasn’t ready for the fun to end until lead singer Lydia Night asked the crowd if they were ready for YUNGBLUD. It was game on.
In what may be a best show of the summer contender for the Tampa Bay Area, YUNGBLUD and Friends came, they loved, and they rocked. The perfect combination.