I expected quite a few things from Yuna’s show at U St. Music Hall (all of which she lived up to), but before I delve into her actual performance, there are a few important facts/anomalies of which you need to become aware:
- There were way more middle-aged men alone at this show than almost any other I’ve been to, something that Yuna noticed halfway through her set when she stopped singing to say, “Wow. I’m not used to seeing so many guys raising their hands up relating to this stuff. It’s usually just girls.”
- People were literally so mesmerized by her voice that I saw maybe four phones up recording/taking pictures, something that’s noteworthy for a sold-out show. Everyone just stood still and sort of gaped open-mouthed at her the whole time.
- One of the aforementioned middle-aged single guys standing next to me body-shoved some tween out of the way when he tried to scooch closer to the stage. It was v. intense.
- I’m pretty sure that Jarell Perry, the opening act, will become the next Frank Ocean. His voice is like butter. Also, the entire crowd sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to his synth guy at the end of their set (which he recorded).
Yuna is a little spritely sequin-covered waif from Malaysia with a voice that sounds like someone with really soft hands stroking the trunk of a tree. And when she’s not singing, she’s shrugging and giggling and asking our permission to play another song, which leads to the crowd enthusiastically cheering her on. E.g.: she spent a solid 6 minutes trying to live-record vocal harmonies for her cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You” but couldn’t because the mics kept picking up the sound of shrill shrieks.
But she isn’t just a singer, she’s our personal cheerleader.
Because when she gave a little speech about leaving your home to travel and explore new countries and leave toxic people, I teared up and was not alone: U Hall erupted into coos of teary support. And when she whipped out the acoustic guitar to play “Decorate” solo [I’m all black and white inside/ Monotonous from left to right/ I decorate my house with things you love/ Just in case you show up<——– who would do this to her?!] some girl to my left put one hand on her heart, one in the air and whispered, “God bless this moment.”
In conclusion, you need to see Yuna perform whenever you get the chance because her talent is rare, she’s an adorably humble performer, and there are much more irresponsible ways to spend $20.
- I Want You Back
- Right Again
- Someone Who Can
- Favorite Thing
- Deeper Conversations
- Decorate (acoustic)
- Thinkin Bout You (cover)
- Lights and Camera
- I Wanna Go
- Live Your Life (encore)