While I enjoyed the videos from last year’s tour with Imagine Dragons, Grace felt like a shadow of her headliner self when she was slaying it every night on the “Just The Beginning” tour. Her energy and confidence seemed to have been dialed down to 25% of what it had been just a few months earlier when she was selling out 1,000+ capacity theatres.
This week, beginning with the free concert she gave at the California Polytechnic University in Obispo on May 31st, demonstrated that not only was the confidence and energy of “Just The Beginning” Grace back, but that Grace had matured as a performer and had seemingly been going heavy on her cardio regimen as she danced like a whirlygig throughout her whole setlist on all occasions.
Check out the intensity of her delivery of “Moonlight” last night in Orlando at the Amway Center Arena. She was putting her all into it, filling that song with energy it hadn’t been infused with since she debuted it at Vidcon way back in the summer of 2017.
Her cover of “Best Friend” by Rex Orange County was even more energetic, but not manic. Grace was feeling the lyrics, but also having a whole lot of fun performing the song and took everyone in attendance along for the ride with her.
Compare last night’s performance (left) with last year’s at Summerfest, opening for Imagine Dragons (right):
Beyond Grace’s energy and commitment to these shows with Florence, there is also something new she introduced, or turned up a few notches: sass. Grace isn’t just dancing like a goofball having fun on stage, but is imbuing some of her songs, like her new tracks “You’ll Get Bored” and “You’re So Beautiful” with a flirty wink, and her dancing is more reflective of a young woman grooving to her music, more than a kid jamming to it with legs and arms flailing awkwardly.
(June 5th, 2019 in Raleigh, NC)
Grace’s vocals on this short run have been very strong and rangy, as well. She’s belting out these songs without losing her breath as she sometimes used to, and her low notes are as powerful as her high ones. I don’t recall ever seeing her sing so strongly with as little struggle.
As our fashion editor Maureen Holley already discussed in her breakdown of Grace’s look on the June 5th and 8th shows, Grace is maturing her stage look as well, with bold bright, but warm colours, with a form-fitting dress on the Wednesday and Saturday shows and super casual loose fitting jeans, white tank-top, and baggy three-quarter length sleeve print shirt/jacket (I can only imagine the cringe Maureen just suffered at my clumsy attempt to describe that top) on Thursday’s, and possibly tonight’s show. Both outfits were strikingly different in form but were not worlds apart in terms of the palette. Gone, seemingly, are the days of white peasant dresses and crazy black frilly/metallic/gauzy/taffeta one-offs. These new outfits seem like the clothes of not only a happier person but one more comfortable in her own skin. Grace is evolving on all fronts simultaneously and is sharing her journey with her fans.
That’s not to say she’s given up being a goofy kid altogether as evidenced by her ridiculous (in a good way) live stream yesterday where she maintained a British accent all the way through while cutting her hair, bragging how she picked up the Portuguese language in a few months and could converse freely in it (might be exercising a wee bit of hyperbole on that one) and all around acted like a silly goose. In other words, she’s growing up fast but hasn’t quite gotten there yet.
I’m loving this new Grace, not that there was anything wrong with the old one, but this young lady is impressing the heck out of me, and so is her new music. I can’t wait for it (“You’re So Beautiful”) to be released (hopefully still in June).
Here’s one last video to recap this week’s concert experience nicely from the Orlando, FL show on Saturday night (June 8th)…
ORLANDO tonight pic.twitter.com/hXAxumLjsD
— Grace VanderWaal (@GraceVanderWaal) June 9, 2019