Before the America’s Got Talent winner took the stage, the room was abuzz with kids of all ages and their parents. The excitement was palpable as showtime grew nearer. No one opened for the teen — and no one needed to. This was a rare show where the crowd didn’t need to be warmed up before the headliner.
Cannery Ballroom is a venue with few frills, leaving it up to the artist to really entertain without the dazzle of moving lights, video walls or pyrotechnics. When the 14-year old ukulele player came out on stage, she punched us all in the face with a fearless and energetic rendition of “Moonlight.” Her stage presence and vocal ability coming across like that of an industry veteran.
It’s hard to believe the Columbia artist just released her debut album last fall. She dropped Just The Beginning in November of 2017 and now she’s on her very first concert tour. Fans are excited to see the young talent and she’s selling out venues left and right.
During the show, VanderWaal spoke to the audience in soft, sweet tones. She told the stories behind her songs with her speech as melodic as her singing. When the crowd screamed, “I love you,” she cooed back, “I love you more.” The show was a complete lovefest for the teen — and her adoring fans.
Halfway through her solo show, VanderWaal took a quick intermission to catch her breath and change her clothes. When she returned, she performed a cover of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros‘ “Home.” To end the show, she performed an encore that got everyone singing along. She sang “I Don’t Know My Name,” which is the song that started it all for the ukulele sensation. The audience swayed and sang with her until it was time to go home.
If VanderWaal makes it to your town on her tour, we highly recommend seeing her show with an open mind and heart. You won’t regret it.