Yuna Lights the Stage at U Street Music Hall
On April 29, 2016 I headed down to U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C. for Yuna’s concert, with supporting act BOSCO. This was the first stop of her 2016 tour and if you live in any city she’ll be performing in, I recommend you go see her.
The Malaysian singer-songwriter Yunalis Zara’ai, whose aesthetic is influenced by Folk, R&B, Indie Pop, and Rock, sang several songs from her new album “Chapters” (check it out), and a few from previous projects.
Just from seeing other attendees in the line outside I knew we were all going to vibe together very well. Everyone was chill and positive and very much looking forward to hearing Yuna perform. The first songs she performed were soulful pieces from “Chapters” that had the audience swaying and nodding. Despite sound issues for the first three songs she performed, her performance still began enjoyable. The second song she performed had a jazzy feel that I would say is somewhat rare in many of her songs- it was a pleasant surprise. The third song Yuna performed, “Mountains” from her 2013 album “Nocturnal” made me rue every decision I made to have not heard that song before. I loved the song. People loved the song. And most importantly it was clear Yuna loves this song and enjoyed performing it- she was in a zone.
The sound people had some difficulties in the beginning, but the light people were spot on the whole night. When Yuna sang her next song “Lights and Camera”, also from “Nocturnal,” the lights went dim (as they should have). Yuna’s lyrics are always honest and meaningful and “Lights and Camera” is one of the songs that epitomizes this. The lyrics are vulnerable yet that performance was more motivational than anything:
Cause these lights won’t kill me now
Saying these clothes won’t change me now
Saying these words won’t scare me now
Saying I will be myself
I will be myself
This song spreads authenticity and based on her career, the way she carries herself, and her performances, Yuna, in my opinion, shows the importance of people being their true selves; and I fully respect that.
The concert was great overall, but the highlights were when Yuna sang the songs that introduced her to people over the past years. Yes they are “old” songs. Yes she is touring to promote her new album “Chapters” (check it out). But most audiences appreciate a performer singing some throwbacks- and Yuna delivered. “Someone Out of Town”, “Lullabies”, and “Live Your Life” made me love Yuna and I was very thankful that she performed the last two.
As “Lullabies” is one of her most known songs, the audience screamed as soon as she sang the first line. Her voice throughout this performance was flawless. The band manipulated the instruments perfectly- it was an absolutely ethereal performance. “Live Your Life” gave the audience life. Once again the lyrics promote authenticity and positive vibes. To balance out the popular old songs she performed, Yuna performed her latest hit “Crush”.
“Crush”, which features Usher, the most popular track of “Chapters”, really shines. The duo balance each other out perfectly but even Yuna’s solo performance that night sufficed.
She introduced the song by saying she has a new single “and it’s featuring Usher” [immediate yayyyyyy from the audience], “but Usher’s not here tonight” [immediate awwwwe from the audience]. Yuna laughed but said “but I am still here” [and we all clapped noticing we were still about to be blessed]. She expressed her gratitude at having a song with Usher and I echo her sentiments with expectations that more people will get to know her through this collaboration.
Listen to “Crush”, you’ll love it. It is chill, you can listen to it around your whole family. The instrumentation is appropriately mellow, the lyrics are relatable, and Yuna’s voice felt like it was created for this song. Her performance was impeccable, vocals were impeccable, and stage presence was impeccable.
This is repetitive, but I genuinely recommend anyone to go see her live. Her voice sounds great live, the band is clutch, and these two components create an environment the audience seemed pleased to be a part of. After her last song we waited desperately for an encore, which never came, because we just wanted to hear more. In retrospect she sang several songs but I think the adage applies that “when you’re having fun time flies”: many concert goers stated they felt the concert was really short. The length of the concert can be debated, but the quality cannot. Everyone I saw and spoke to after the concert was satisfied. Look out for her tour dates and see if attending a Yuna concert is a move you can make.