Kehlani w/ Dustin Conrad• September 22, 2022• The Complex
Reviewed and Photographed by Eli Valle
When an artist has to postpone or even cancel a performance, a lot has to go into the decision. Not only does it impact the people who were originally planning on attending the show, but now the tour, the venue, any VIP reps hired for the show, and the promotion company are scrambling to find a solution that can benefit everyone at the end of the day. Oftentimes, artists and the venue cannot find a date to reschedule and the show is canceled and folks are refunded.
Ticket holders from 2020 remember that process all too well (I know I do, I actually still tear up at the thought of it every time I think about it). Although fans were left upset when Kehlani announced via Instagram that she had to postpone the Salt Lake City and Denver show due to their health, fans also understood that their health came first and that Kehlani would make it up to them sooner than later. Thankfully, sooner than later came for Kehlani fans when the new scheduled date was set to September 22nd and The Complex finally welcomed the Blue Water Road Trip Tour for one night and one night only.
The unfortunate change of dates also meant that Rico Nasty would no longer be able to make it to Salt Lake City to open up the show but have no fear, Dustin Conrad stepped up to the plate and made sure to get the crowd ready for Kehlani. Conrad’s set was full of energy and smooth vocals, with the audience singing over heartbreak at one moment and partying with friends at another. Throughout the set, he mentioned that he was surprised Salt Lake City likes R&B since it was his first time here. But he was loving it. He presented himself as a solo act but he made sure to groove along to the beat and his silky vocals flowed all throughout the venue. For an opening act, he did exceptionally well! Up next was Noodz, Kehlani’s official DJ, who was now preparing the crowd for their anticipated headliner.
Noodz played a major mix of songs during her time. She introduced herself as Kehlani’s official tour DJ. From Fall Out Boy to Bad Bunny, the energy was pumping before Kehlani even hit the stage. At one point, she even played Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” and suddenly everyone in the crowd was heartbroken and yelling out every word at the top of their lungs. The song was cut short as the house lights were dimmed and the main stage drew everyone’s attention to a mini film featuring Kehlani and their daughter, Adeya.
Throughout the film, you see Adeya and her mother riding in a little wagon bus in various areas including the beach and a field. It was a very peaceful scene to watch as we also got a glimpse of what touring must be like for Kehlani when they have some downtime to relax with their daughter on tour. From coloring, singing, and writing songs, the two have a close mother-daughter bond that the short film easily captured. The film then closed out and a silhouette of a woman playing the violin appeared. The lights turned into a slight blue and the moment everyone was waiting for finally arrived. Kehlani and their two backup dancers hit the stage and the crowd cheered and clapped as she sang the first notes to “Little Story” off of their new album, blue water road.
In late April of 2022, Kehlani released blue water road, an album that is consistent with the sentiment of love and what it is like to be in love with someone special. It also touches on the topics of infidelity, moving on, ending relationships, and a hint of regret. Kehlani’s lyricism creativity and vocals truly showcase in this album and she does a phenomenal job transitioning their art from the studio to a live performance with dancers and a band.
Despite being down with a tough cold and infection earlier this month, you would not be able to notice it since she danced and sang so well on stage for over an hour and 30 minutes. Though at one point in her concert, she slowed things down a bit and gave the audience an acoustic performance with just her and a guitarist. Some of the songs she sang were some all-time fan favorites, including: “Honey”, “You Should Be Here”, and “The Way”.
After her mini acoustic set, she returned to her full-on dance performance with other hits like “Nunya”, “Toxic”, “Nights Like These” and her lovey-dovey song, “melt”. If there is anything Kehlani told us from that setlist it was that they are in love and they are not afraid to show it. All throughout the set, they had an energy that radiated throughout the night and if you attended the show and weren’t a fan before, odds are you left as a converted Kehlani fan. Or at least you had a new admiration to their talent. T
o close out the evening, they sang “CRZY” from their first ever EP, SweetSexySavage. Before starting the song, they asked the crowd to go crazy for the night and that is exactly what they did. Kehlani had everyone jumping, dancing, and singing along to their closing song and on that final high note, they all bowed and wished everyone a safe night.