I can attest, Dean Lewis has the unique ability to turn Hollywood in October into a cinematic backdrop.
On October 19th, the Fonda Theatre was graced with an hour and a half of vivid storytelling, each song like a scene in a blockbuster. Bracing their tear ducts and grinning from ear to ear, fans lined the Hollywood Walk of Fame in anticipation of what might be in store. And with great reason, because this stop on The Future Is Bright World Tour had several notable attendees including David Kushner, whose song “Daylight” went viral on TikTok earlier this year for its soul-stirring sound and lyricism.
Before the show began, I stumbled upon a twin-sister duo, Breanna and Bianca, who had actually met the “Hurtless” singer a few days prior! The two were wearing pink Dean Lewis sweatshirts, expressing their affection for the artist’s generosity. They told me they had attended his Sunday October 15th show at The Observatory and had a wonderful run-in with Lewis afterward, during which he provided them two more tickets to attend his show again at the Fonda Theatre! When I asked them what the experience was like, both were quick to describe him as “very kind and welcoming.” The sisters have been huge fans for over two years and couldn’t be more excited about having interacted with him. When I asked, “If you could convey one message to him, what would it be?”, Breanna responded with, “Thank you for being so nice! Most artists wouldn’t take the time to talk to fans.” Bianca followed with, “Thank you for being so kind and appreciating [us]!”
While interviewing fans, I uncovered an interesting throughline. At its core, this fandom appreciates Lewis’s emotionality and kindness. Adrianna, whose favorite songs are “How Do I Say Goodbye” and “Half a Man,” mentioned she is “proud of how far he’s come and the community he’s built.” Ally, a self-proclaimed “Waves” stan, shared that if she could tell him anything it would be to “stay in tap with [his] emotions,” noting that his depth is what makes his songs so special.
Conversing with concert-goers was undoubtedly enriching, and reflected the great qualities I was soon to see from Dean Lewis himself. In no time, the curtains rolled and the Australian singer-songwriter took the stage. A loud rumbling filled the room and the audience instantly came to life! He kicked off the show with the lead single, “Looks Like Me.” Lewis was all in, lunging back on beats and moving eagerly to the rhythm.
In a room with hundreds of people, it was surprisingly easy to feel connected to the indie-pop singer. His vulnerable pre-song monologues made the event feel like a casually deep one-on-one conversation with a childhood friend. At the beginning of the set, he joked, “I’m about to play you 20 songs,” laughing that they’re all about “the exact same girl.” Though, before playing “Hurtless,” he was sure to clarify that this particular tune was about a different girl… admitting, however, that it was essentially the same situation, just five years later. The crowd laughed at the relatability of this remark. He sang the ballad on piano, delivering such an emotionally charged performance that he couldn’t sit still for it. Deeply immersed in the music, he often found himself standing upright while pressing piano keys, or shifting in his seat. The passion coursing through him was palpable!
Introducing “The Hardest Love,” he explained that he accidentally wrote the song about a friend who had just passed two years ago. He then prompted the crowd to “hold [their] phones up for her.” White lights filled the sea of heads as the crowd swayed in solidarity during this breathtaking moment.
Near the end of the show, he covered Coldplay’s “Yellow” with a captivating twist. The soft acoustic moment turned into a burst of instrumentation after the second chorus. Lewis took us all by surprise, inserting powerful pauses between each word at the line, “For. You. I. Bleed. Myself…DRY” and the band struck like lightning, suddenly revamping the entire style of the performance. Even better? Opener, Sara Kays came out and joined him on stage! The duo harmonized flawlessly, voices soaring atop the pulse of riveting drums and an abstract backdrop.
In addition to having perfect pitch and outstanding vocal ability, the 36-year-old artist is a master at forging affective bonds. His show was generously sprinkled with special instances. On multiple occasions, he sat at the edge of the stage to be as close and relaxed with the audience as possible. Countless times, he even sang at the barricade where I was standing, reaching out to touch as many fans as possible, and holding hands with select individuals while singing into their eyes to create deep resonate one-on-one moments.
From allowing the crowd to scream the bridge of the multi-platinum single, “Be Alright” to leading the crowd in clapping on-beat, he ensured everyone had a slice of the performance pie.
Lewis also notably had a very playful relationship with his fans. Throughout the show, he and audience members would subtly signal to each other by holding their thumbs to their index and middle fingers (as if about to snap) before forming hand hearts. What an endearing way to interact from a distance. In addition to this, he threw so many (and I mean SO many) guitar picks that I lost count. They were being tossed out like Halloween candy!
The audience wasn’t only showered in guitar picks though; they were also showered in compliments all night! The Aussie singer shared how elated he was to be in the States and continuously professed, “I love your accents!”, calling his LA fans’ voices “cute.” During the “Waves” encore, he showed patriotism again by running out with the American flag in hand, later draping it around his neck.
Overall, the show painted a portrait of the unanimous nature of love and loss, the beauty in being vulnerable and the power of human connection. He is no ordinary artist. For him, music is holistic, not exclusive to lyricism, soundscape or performance separately, but a mixture of it all that is delectable to the soul. He radiates authenticity at every step of the musical process and particularly excels at creating a sincere and tender live atmosphere.
My conclusion: you don’t need to be a Dean Lewis fan to enjoy this show! (Though, you probably will be by the end of it). He’s a natural-born performer and his set is enthralling for anyone whose guilty pleasure is catharsis. It’d be greedy of me not to encourage you to secure a ticket for his next tour. And while you’re at it, keep an eye out for his forthcoming third album! I’ll be streaming his new singles, “Trust Me Mate” and “In A Perfect World” with Julia Michaels in anticipation! Probably too many times, in fact.