By Faith Richardson
The night was young as two of my friends and I arrived in Chicago, IL for a night with Sam Smith. We approached the United Center and witnessed the towering screens that advertised, “THE THRILL OF IT ALL NORTH AMERICAN TOUR.” We saw many LGBT+ people draped in pride flags, holding the hands of their partners. This was expected as Smith himself identifies as genderqueer. Once inside, the feeling of excitement grew inside of me as I prepared myself to see one of my favorite music artists.
The show began as opener Beth Ditto fired up the crowd for what would become a night to remember. Less than an hour after her set began, Sam Smith rose from under the stage, singing his song “Burning.” He wasted no time in firing up the crowd as he performed two of his most popular songs, “I’m Not the Only One” and “Lay Me Down” . It became joyfully evident just how well known they are due to the volume of the crowd, who sang along to every word.
Thirty minutes into the concert, Smith played one of my favorite songs ever, “Nirvana,” and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried. The power behind his voice and the emotion from the audience combined to create something quite overwhelming and unforgettable. The stage also added to the effect as the background would move and change color frequently.
The night was approaching its end when Sam played “HIM,” which has been referred to as a “gay anthem.” The song is about the artist speaking to God, telling him about his homosexuality and how it is not a choice. This was obviously a fan favorite as the vibes in the building only got stronger. Many fans in the crowd held up their pride flags as they sang along, belting every word, as if it was written just for them. Finally, as the song ended, a rainbow was projected onto the back wall, thus creating an exuberant reaction from the audience.
The show wrapped up with two of Smith’s most popular songs, “Stay With Me,” and “Pray.” It is safe to say that there were no dry eyes in the audience as we all said goodbye to the artist while singing some of the most iconic songs of this generation. After many outfit changes, Sam Smith finally went backstage, leaving us all with “Post Concert Depression.”
Sam Smith’s United Center performance was by far the best concert that I have ever attended. I hope Smith returns to Chicago sooner than later.