Conan Gray takes on Chicago

Performs at seventh stop on North American tour


Conan Gray performing “Astronomy” at Sept. 28 show in Chicago (Mardegan/LION).

Jeanne Mardegan, News Editor, Website Editor

After seeing singer Conan Gray on his world tour in March of this year, I knew it was a show I’d want to see again. A natural performer who started on YouTube in 2013, Gray released his first extended play (EP) “Sunset Season” in 2018, followed by his debut album “Kid Krow” in 2020. 

“Superache,” his second album, fully dropped on June 24, 2022 with 12 songs following themes that Gray often writes about in regards to a rough childhood upbringing as told through “Family Line” and unrequited love as depicted in “Movies.” The concert was held at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, an outdoor amphitheater venue in the city, located at 1300 S. Linn White Drive. 

Set to start at 8 p.m., I arrived around 6:30 p.m., after walking roughly 15 minutes from my group’s parking spot. Having had issues in the past at this venue with attempting to be picked up, my friends and I sported for a $12 pre-paid spot, which made for an easy exit when the show wrapped up around 10:30 p.m. We made it into the venue after a mere 10 minute wait and purchased merchandise while we knew they’d still have loads of options. I went for a tour shirt that listed all the cities Gray was visiting and paid $35, which isn’t more than the average concert shirt I’ve purchased in the past. Shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, and more ranged from $20 to $65, having loads of options at different prices.

Making it into the pit roughly an hour before the opener started, I was in the third row from the gate at the stage, feeling exhilarated that I was able to get so close without much of a wait at all. Prior to tax, I paid $80 for a pit ticket. Seeing as Gray is only continuing to grow as an artist, I know I might never get a better ticket price in the future. 

Opening for Gray during the first half of his tour was Kacy Hill. I’d never heard of her before, but her musical sound made sense for Gray’s crowd. Accompanied on stage by solely a sound machine, Hill had a whimsical feel and soft vocals to match her songs. While lovely, it was unfortunate that her backing tracks were much louder than her singing, making it difficult to hear Hill during her 30 minute set.

At promptly 9 p.m., Gray entered the stage through curtains that dawned a red rose projection, a common image associated with the latest album. Singing “Disaster” as the opening tune was a great choice on Gray’s part, as it’s an upbeat number that got the crowd hyped for the evening. Gray has so much fun performing and it’s contagious to his fans, as he dances around and truly uses all of the stage to reach more people. He performed songs off of his debut album, “Kid Krow,” such as “Wish You Were Sober” (my personal favorite) and “Heather.” My standout performances from songs off of “Superache” were “Footnotes” and “Astronomy,” two of Gray’s slower songs that I felt really united the crowd in the middle of the set. The encore was “Memories,” and I couldn’t think of a better way to close off the night than with a powerhouse song that had me screaming and crying in the best way possible.

In between musical numbers, Gray talks to his audience about himself, the songs he’s sharing, and gives advice to his fans. His interludes are something I loved so much during the first time I saw him in concert, and I was glad to see them continue onto this tour. Fans can truly tell how grateful Gray is for his success, and he never stops reminding them that they’re the reason he’s gotten this far. He even took the time to sing “Happy Birthday” to a fan, which was such a special moment to be a part of. As a follower of his, it’s acts of appreciation like this that make my love for Gray continue to grow throughout the years.

The only complaints I have for the evening was the fact that Gray didn’t perform every song off of “Superache.” Being as it was the titled tour, I would’ve loved to hear “Yours” and “Summer Child,” which were excluded from the setlist. However, I still loved the set and had a blast rocking out. While it was an outdoor venue in the fall, the weather wasn’t too awful. Granted, I was in the pit, so the close proximity to others definitely kept me warm. Talking to people I know who had seats farther away, the consensus was that all was fine if you were wearing a sweatshirt or light jacket. Since this is Chicago, people seemed prepared for the brisk weather. 

Overall, Gray’s Superache tour was one for the books. From vivid light production to a respectful crowd with Gray’s authenticity, it made for a phenomenal concert that I’ll never forget. If you ever get the opportunity to see him perform, whether or not you’re a big fan, I couldn’t recommend seeing him enough. 


Paws: 4.8/5