Amaarae’s Striking Performance in Toronto

8 April 2024 / by Joey Vong
Amaraae Toronto Review
Amaarae’s Striking Performance in Toronto
To a sold-out show of enthusiastic fans, Amaarae delivers a stellar performance to remember.

With the most critically acclaimed album of 2023 on Metacritic, the anticipation was high to see how American singer-songwriter Amaarae’s hit songs would translate to a live concert setting. On March 24th, the performer took the stage at her sold-out show at Toronto’s historic Danforth Music Hall as part of her Fountain Baby Tour.  With a supporting act from DJ Minzi Roberta, the performers gave the audience a fun night of music to remember. 


Upon entering the venue, it was clear that both the show and the crowd would be an absolute blast. With Amaarae’s main demographic of listeners falling between the ages of 18-35, audience members in the crowd caught my eye with their vibrant and playful outfits, drinks in hand and smiles across faces as people chatted with friends. It seemed like most people came with a small group of friends or with a significant other, ready to sing and dance the night away. 


Dressed in red from head to toe with ribbons in her hair and boots to match, Amaarae opened her show with the intro track from Fountain Baby, “Angels in Tibet”. As the lights went down, with the crowd submerged in temporary darkness and anticipation pumping, I knew that all my suspicions had been correct. The moment that the venue became steeped in fluorescent colours and Amaarae hit the stage, the crowd erupted into screams. 


Amaarae’s catalogue is generally upbeat, bouncy and groovy. Moving through various songs off Fountain Baby and a couple of fan-favourite tracks from previous albums with smoothness and ease, the performer showed immense control over the crowd and had the audience glued to her performance for the entire set. With no backup dancers, only her band on stage and a minimal stage and lighting design, the concert easily could have felt lacklustre and boring, but that reality couldn’t have been further from this scenario. 


During her 19-song set, Amaarae did nothing less than command the stage with every ounce of her being. Making good use of the stage space, never holding too long in one place and probing interactions with the crowd, she and the audience truly seemed like they were one, their energies feeding off each other to create one of the most special concert experiences that I’ve had in this city. 


Overall, the energy was constantly high throughout with the crowd seeming to be highly enjoying their time. No matter where I looked into the audience, whether at the folks at the front or the people in the mezzanine, it was clear that the crowd was invested in her every word and connected deeply with her in the moment. There were numerous tracks such as “Big Steppa” and “Co-Star” where the crowd was so loud, singing along with every lyric, that Amaarae’s voice was almost completely engulfed. Surprisingly, the only moment where things slowed down was when Amaarae performed an acoustic version of one of her most popular songs “Reckless & Sweet”. While I thought it was interesting that she chose this particular track to strip down, I think it brought a tender perspective to the song that was emphasized through the soft instrumentals. 


My favourite aspect of the show was undoubtedly the crowd and the strong sense of community I felt was embodied during the short but sweet hour-and-15-minute-long show and the life that they brought to this night. While I was expecting a fun atmosphere, the joy that was exuded from the crowd and the pure enthusiasm from both Amaarae and those watching was entirely captivating. 


Even after Amaarae had finished her final song and some curated tracks began to play as folks were headed out, a lot of the crowd stayed behind dancing and singing along to songs, enjoying each other’s company. It’s concerts like these that remind me of the endless value of live music and how beautiful these experiences can be.