Jacob Collier, May 25th at the Keller Auditorium

Jacob Collier has become an odd topic of discourse among the online music community as of late. Many feel his music feels “pretentious” and often feels too chaotic to be enjoyable, and an equal amount of people feel his music hits a spot that no other musician can hit. While online discourse is not always the best measure of the larger populous’ feelings, both these arguments have some merit. However, I personally have always enjoyed his music. It has always been incredibly unique and stands out amidst a crowd of similar pop artists, and it is impossible for anyone to deny his talent in music as a whole. I saw him perform at his Djesse Vol. 3 tour in 2022 at The Crystal Ballroom, and this show was truly incredible. I walked out of the venue starstruck. Everything about the experience felt like it was about the music, and nothing more. The small stage was jam packed with as many instruments as possible with the large crowd all gathered round as close as possible. The energy at the venue felt incredibly passionate and pure. Everyone was there for the same thing, not the man, but the music. And the music was all around. From everyone in the crowd singing to seeing the incredible musicians on stage playing their absolute hearts out, everything was about the music. However, walking out of the most recent Djesse Vol. 4 tour, I was not hit with the same feeling.

I saw Collier’s second Djesse world tour in May of this year at the Keller Auditorium. This theater is usually reserved for plays, with comfortable chairs and classical Greek architecture all around. It is worth noting, as the theater is not the best venue for a concert, as throughout the show, everyone was sitting down and silently taking in the show. This was in harsh contrast to the previous show. In addition, the show as a whole felt much more like a produced concert rather than a group of musicians playing. While everything was very high quality, the music no longer surrounded me. It was instead in a window ahead of me while me and the large crowd merely watched. In the previous concert, audience participation played a big part. Collier constantly had the audience sing and directed what the audience was singing in very specific ways. Whereas in the latest show, it felt like an afterthought. Collier would have the audience sing occasionally at the end of some songs, but not nearly as much as before. While all the music was great, and the artists on stage were absolutely incredible, it was everything else about the show that drew from my experience. However, this isn’t to say it was a bad experience by any means. It was still an enjoyable show. There was a lot of variety in what was played, with some softer pieces and some more loud pop songs keeping the pace up. There was a lovely moment where the entire audience sang happy birthday to a 100 year old woman in the crowd that Jacob knew. It was a fun ride, however, it was not to the level that Collier had previously demonstrated he is able to do.