- 13 Sep 19
Last time Julia Michaels performed in Ireland, she was the opening act for Niall Horan. Now she's headlining her own European tour and she's made it clear that she's worth the main stage.
Julia Michaels is known as a powerhouse songwriter, working with Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, Selena Gomez, Ed Sheeran, and more on some of their greatest hits. After her Olympia Theatre gig, suffice to say she’s got promising prospects as a singer as well.
But don’t be fooled – Michaels isn’t just another pop star in the making. She has a niche personality of humility, relatability, and transparency that resonates well with the everyday person.
Before her set, a banner was raised centre stage that read, “Judgement-free zone. Encouraged: Singing, dancing, jumping, feeling, laughing”. In the swarm of teenage girls that made up the majority of the crowd, the message seemed to have particular gravity.
Opening with ‘Pink’ off her 2017 debut album, Michaels skipped onto the stage sporting bright yellow oversized shorts, a matching oversized flannel, and of course, her signature black-and-white chequered Vans. For the record, that skipping and jumping didn't stop for the next 90 minutes. The chorus, normally a sultry whisper about her lover’s infatuation with her, was instead screamed by the audience.
A few songs in, Michaels took a break to address the Dublin crowd and acknowledge her deliberate decision to kick off her European tour here since it was her first stop when she opened for Niall Horan.
It was at this point that it seemed the crowd made an unspoken pact not to let Julia Michaels down on this decision. Nearly every song thereafter, she stopped in her tracks during the chorus, in utter awe of the crowd’s roaring melody and was left with no choice but to submit the microphone to them.
With multiple raw, emotional songs like ‘Happy’ and ‘Anxiety’ that deal with mental health, Michaels trail-blazed a unique live experience that not only forged a bond between her and the audience, but also among the audience.
She led the crowd in a “safe space” chant, encouraged them to let out cathartic screams then hug their neighbour, and asked them to be open and honest about their struggles with mental health because, “we have a lot in common”. There’s something about looking around to see all the people raising their hands to signify they’ve been affected by mental health that makes you feel just a little bit safer.
Near the end of the show, Michaels’s crew cleared out a space among the standing section and she dawned the Irish flag around her shoulders as she joined the crowd for a quick ukulele cover of Cee Lo Green’s ‘Fuck You’, followed by her own ‘Apple’ and ‘Falling For Boys’. “I keep falling for boys / and mistaking them for men”, she sings shaking her head. Did I mention she's a brilliant lyricist?
With unabating energy, Michaels skipped right back on stage for an encore with a solo rendition of ‘What a Time’, her duet with Niall Horan. Notably different without Ireland's own, the crowd still endearingly sang along to fill the gaps.
With the band playing softly in the background, Michaels thanked her band and crew then reminisced, “This song is the reason I’m here”. The crowd lost their minds as the opening notes to ‘Issues’ played. While it’s surely the reason many people came in the first place, it was well worth the wait with plenty of lyrically-strong, melodically heart-thumping, and often danceable tunes from the artist on the rise.
After a set like that, it’s easy to see why the only direction is up for Julia Michaels.
The show was also a heartwarming reminder that music can be so much more than just entertainment. The community cultivated at the Olympia Theatre made a mutual impact last night.
As fans trickled out covered in rainbow confetti, they shared stories of their favourite moments. And soon after the show ended, Michaels tweeted out, “I’m beamingggggg. OLEEEEEEE!!” in response to the three separate rounds of the infamous olé olé olé chant she received.
AHHH DUBLIN!!!! Our first eu/uk SOLD OUT show was amazing! All thanks to you!! I’m beamingggggg. OLEEEEEEE!!
— Julia Michaels (@juliamichaels) September 12, 2019
Check out the photos from the concert here.