Dean Lewis w/ Forest Blakk May 31, 2022 The Depot
Reviewed and Photographed by Alisha Gregson
It didn’t take long for Australian pop musician Dean Lewis to sell out every ticket for his Salt Lake City stop on his Sad Boi Tour. When I arrived at The Depot on May 30th, I was not at all surprised to see a line trailing down the street and around the corner. His fan base consisted of mostly young girls in their teens and twenties. They were excited for the chance to watch him perform.
I walked into the venue and made my way to the photo pit. Once I got in the pit I had the opportunity to talk to a few of the fans in the front row. I noticed most of the fans in the front were all holding identical Dean Lewis totes bags. They told me they had purchased VIP tickets. Those totes were just one of the many perks that came with them. Inside the bags, the fans received a poster, a guitar pick, and a couple of other items.
Along with the bag, anyone who purchased VIP tickets got to skip that long line and enter the venue early. While skipping the line is nice, the best VIP perk by far was the opportunity they got to meet and take pictures with Lewis. The girls I talked to, had traveled together from St. George to see him Lewis. They told me he spent about 30 minutes singing for them, answering questions, and telling stories, before taking the time to take a picture with each one of them. I love anytime an artist takes this kind of time to connect with fans. I couldn’t wait to see how he would interact with the crowd.
Opening the night was Canadian singer-songwriter Forest Blakk. He stepped out in a wide brim wool hat and I immediately picked up on his folk vibes. From the moment he started singing his first song ‘I Wish I Knew’, the crowd was completely drawn in. His lyrics were emotional, and his voice was beautiful as he sang to the audience. His pop-folk set was full of vulnerable songs, often inspired by his real-life experiences. After a few songs he told the crowd how much he loved them and their energy, telling them he’d like to take them all on tour with him. He asked, “Are there any lovers in here?”. Then he picked out Cole and Abby, a couple in the crowd, and dedicated his next song, ‘I Saw Love’ to them.
At one point a fan challenged him to play Rock Paper Scissors. He agreed and played best 2 out of 3. At this point, I was out of the photo pit and I was near the back of the venue, so I couldn’t tell what the results were. But I assumed he lost when he laughed and said “story of my life.”. I was really enjoying all his playful interactions with the audience. Forest also wasn’t afraid to open up to the crowd and share personal parts of his journey.
Blakk talked about meeting his girlfriend for the first time. It was during a low time in his life when he was living out of his car. He referred to himself as broken goods, and that she made him believe he could be everything he wants. Blakk then played a voicemail she left for him about the night they met, and how she knew he was the one. He expressed how much she meant to him before singing his next song “Fall Into Me.” Near the end of the set Forest Blakk sang his most popular song ‘If You Love Her’ while the crowd held up their phones flashlights and sang along with him. He did an excellent job setting the mood for the night and promised to stick around after the concert to greet fans at the merch table.
Happy screams filled the venue the second Dean Lewis stepped on stage. The crowd chanted his name with many fans shouting out that they love him. He started strong with his song ‘Failing Up,’ as the entire audience sang every word with him. I learned quickly that his fans knew every word to each of his songs. I noticed many of them getting emotional as they sang along with him. After his second song, he told the crowd that this was already his best show because they were the best audience. Before singing ‘7 Minutes,’ he shared that he wrote the song after a date not going well.
While some of his songs may have sounded sad, Lewis could not stop smiling. He was obviously enjoying every moment of the night. As he sang ‘Need You Now’ he made heart hands and let the crowd completely take over the chorus, before adding “Salt Lake City” into the last line of the song.
Like many other people who visit Utah, Lewis noticed the effects of the higher altitude we have here, “I feel like I’m going to pass out up here. What’s with the air? How big are your guy’s lungs? By the way, is there a Salt Lake? There aren’t any salt lakes in Australia.” Apparently, Lewis was not the only one who felt like they were going to pass out. Because minutes later in the middle of his next song he must have picked up on the commotion and stopped everything immediately and asked, “did someone pass out?”
I watched from the balcony as the staff at The Depot worked very quickly to take care of the situation. They got the lights on and security to the girl who passed out within seconds. I was very impressed with Dean Lewis and all the staff for how quick and compassionate they were. Then Lewis started his song from the beginning and the concert was back on track. The energy of the night was not lost and the crowd continued to enjoy every moment.
Lewis swapped out his guitar for his keyboard and showed just how musically talented he is. He performed a new song ‘Scares Me’. Dean asked the crowd if they liked the song, and got a huge cheer of approval. He followed his new song with ‘Half A Man’ but had to stop everything again as another fan passed out. Just as before, the staff worked quickly to take care of the situation.
After making sure she was ok Lewis got right back into his song. The energy of the night was strong when he sang his hit ‘Be Alright,’ a song that hit 2X platinum in the U.S. and 10X platinum in Australia. He told the crowd that his next song ‘Hurtless’ would be the last one for the night. They were not happy about the night coming to an end but got really into the song. After a passionate plea from his fans, Lewis came out for an encore and sang 2 more songs. He finished the night with ‘Adore,’ and another favorite “Waves.”
Dean Lewis played an amazing concert and showed how truly talented he is. His songwriting was just as beautiful as his singing, and the genuine way he interacted with fans made the night even more memorable. I look forward to following his career. I expect to see him return to Utah again, most likely to an even larger crowd.