Giveon’s 20th show of his first ever tour, Give or Take, was held at the Marquee Theater in Tempe on Monday, Sept. 12 in front of a sold-out crowd. One of these eager audience members was none other than Jack Harlow, fellow hip hop/R&B artist that has gained incredible fame in the past year.
Giveon did not travel alone, as he brought along two guests: Saleka and Fana Hughes, both with similar music styles to Giveon. Most people would know Fana Hughes for her 2021 feature with Tyler, The Creator on the song “I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE,” which she performed for the crowd.
After both opening acts, there was a slight lull as the crew prepared the stage for Giveon, until rapper Jack Harlow appeared on the balcony to take his seat for the show. He was received very well by the crowd, and that’s only a taste of what fans heard at his show in Phoenix on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the Arizona Financial Theatre. Giveon would later comment on Harlow’s presence and how thankful he was that Harlow was there, but Harlow ushered the cheers back to Giveon for the show he was putting on.
Giveon’s 21 song setlist began with one of his biggest hits, “Still Your Best,” and the energy of all 1,500 fans was immediately felt as they belted out every single word to the song. Giveon praised his audience at the show prior in Houston on Twitter for their ability to recite every word to every song, and the Tempe crowd was not much different — it was clear this was a show they had been looking forward to for a while.
Most of Giveon’s songs portray themes of secret relationships and toxicity, and one of his main draws to fans is his relatable, “Instagram-captionable” quotes on his songs. For example, on the song “Tryna Be,” Giveon passionately sings, “Honestly, I told them I’m in love with you, but they’re okay with being number 2.” Despite the polygamous themes on his songs, there seemed to be numerous happy couples in the crowd out for a date at the Marquee Theatre enjoying his music.
One of the most compelling parts of the show was Giveon’s choice to perform the songs with a complete band, consisting of two guitarists, bass and lead, a drummer and a keyboardist. Most artists I’ve seen in the past few years have relied on back tracks to support them, but Giveon’s use of a live band for all songs allowed people to feel every rhythmic bass kick stronger than they would when they stream the songs, which made the expensive tickets (which pushed $170) that much more worth it.
The live band also allowed him to be more creative with the way he performed his songs, specifically on his breakout hit with Drake, “Chicago Freestyle,” where he tosses in the name of the city he’s performing in that night, much to the delight of the audience. This song is widely renowned as his breakout hit, and deservedly so, as his performance on mega-star Drake’s EP “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” is nothing short of fantastic.
Twenty one songs is a pretty hefty setlist, especially in a musical era that views albums longer than 12 songs to be too lengthy or boring. Attention spans continue to dwindle as social media becomes more prominent, but Giveon commanded attention for every single song, despite a stage setup that didn’t have anything particularly special. No gimmicks, nothing extra, just the sound of his voice and the chemistry of the band allowed for him to put on a spectacular show.
Giveon’s show crescendoed with his most streamed single, “Heartbreak Anniversary.” Needless to say, the crowd knew this one well, and it was the loudest the crowd got all night. Giveon didn’t need to sing much of it as the crowd helped him out, but when he did, he put the last of his energy into the lyrics and belted them out to a grateful crowd. The show ended just like it began: with ear-piercing cheers and shrieks of audience members exclaiming, “I love you Giveon!”