Fred again.. Launches Historic 8-Show Residency at The Shrine in Los Angeles: Night 1 Review

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On Tuesday in Los Angeles, Fred again.. played the first of his eight nights at The Shrine, a run that, when complete, will be the most consecutive shows a single artist has ever performed at the venue during its nearly 100-year history.

Roughly 40,000 tickets have been sold for this residency, and a sign posted outside the box office on Tuesday night firmly stated “tonight’s show is sold out,” a disappointment to the blindly hopeful few that rolled up to the window a few minutes before he went onstage with the hopes of getting inside.

But unless you’re willing to brave the secondary market, where tickets are currently going for $200-plus, you’re probably not getting into these shows. The rest of the L.A. residency is sold out, as were the three nights at New York City’s Forest Hills Stadium that the London-based producer played earlier this month.

It’s a lot of hype, and the 30-year-old artist at the center of it turned up onstage around 9:45 p.m. in his standard uniform of a baggy T-shirt and those kind of cargo pants that unzip at the knees and convert into shorts when need be. The T-shirt was black and a had a small Nike swoosh over the word “again.” The cargo pants were orange and remained zipped as pants throughout.

And the crowd — composed mostly of people who appeared to be in their 20s, not surprising given Fred’s core demographic and the fact that The Shrine is on the USC campus — roared with the first notes of 2021’s “Kyle (i found you).” This production is one of many bright, enthusiastic, sort of poignant songs the artist born Fred Gibson has delivered to the zeitgeist since emerging from the strange haze of the late pandemic and then, with the return of live events, quickly becoming the first real post-EDM dance music superstar.

While the stars of that aforementioned dance music era became famous on maximalist, adrenaline rush songs that typically celebrated partying and vague notions of fun and romance, most of Gibson’s work is a lot more earnest, with his music and general aesthetic demonstrating a familiar and very modern kind of intimacy forged through Facetimes and video clips and the digital bric-a-brac we share with each other on our phones to make distances feel shorter.

It’s unsurprising then that it only took Gibson about 10 minutes to announce “I want to say, before we play anything else, I just want to say thank you so much for being here. Thank you. I appreciate you so much.”

Fred again.. at The Shrine on Oct. 24, 2024.

The producer and his frequent stage companion — a muscular, extremely enthusiastic co-performer who Gibson always only introduces as Tony — then rolled into “Dermot (See Yourself In My Eyes),” one of many tracks of the night that demonstrated Gibson’s efficacy on the piano, and that he really does have a lovely voice. The crowd came alive for the Swedish House Mafia collab “Turn On the Lights again” which featured the song’s vocalist, Future, projected onto the massive three-screen stage setup Fred has been using on tour for a few years, with each screen meant to emulate a phone screen.

For the Shrine shows, this stage production has been expanded to include four gargantuan LED panels hanging from the ceiling. These ceiling panels gave the space a glowing, immersive feel as they displayed images of airplanes in flight and blue sky with clouds and slow pans of the crowd staring back at itself.

Gibson demonstrated a fair amount of trust in this crowd, when, about 30 minutes into the show, he jumped offstage and — with the help of two security guards — made his way through the horde to a satellite stage in the center of the room. Here, one of the light panels lowered from the ceiling to create a sort of club effect, and Gibson used this time to play some harder hitting stuff — including, much to the crowd’s thrill, his skittering, undeniable Skrillex collab “Rumble” and a bunch of hectic drum ‘n’ bass that got much of the heaving crowd to lower their phones down and just dance along for a few minutes. This seemed a likely moment for Gibson’s other more club-oriented hits, 2022’s “Jungle” and his 2023 Skrillex and Four Tet collab “Baby Again” although neither of those tracks were heard last night.

Fred again.. at The Shrine on Oct. 24, 2024.

Upon Fred’s return to the mainstage, the show returned to it’s more softer-edged programming, with Gibson — who performed a bunch of the set while sitting down — taking a few minutes to tell the story of the birth of his niece, who was born the morning after his massive Glastonbury performance this past June. Happily, he showed us a few seconds of baby niece footage, then aptly played his latest, “adore u.”

Some may find Fred’s infants and gratitude vibes as overly earnest bordering on saccharine, but there’s also something refreshing about the straightforward celebration of happiness, togetherness, adoration and love that characterizes the bulk of his output, particularly in a genre where the cooler than thou vibes can often feel not only dull but alienating.

The show ultimately lasted about an hour and a half, closing with The Blessed Madonna collab “Marea (we’ve lost dancing)” and a singalong of “Billie (loving arms)” (Shout out to the woman in front of us in the crowd holding up an actual lighter in this moment.)

Towards the end of the night, Gibson told the story of his first ever set in L.A., when he played for “like, 50 people” at The Roxy in December of 2021, having landed in town 90 minutes before this show began due to a lag in he and his team getting their visas. A few months later, his euphoric sets at Coachella 2022 made him a star, a few months after that he played three packed shows at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and this past spring he headlined Coachella alongside Skrillex and Four Tet.

Southern California has always been a very strong market for dance and is clearly an increasingly strong market for Gibson — something he’ll demonstrate again (and again, and again) tonight (Oct. 25) over the next week’s remaining shows. With the screen panels offering a friendly goodbye — “get home safe everyone, thank you” — to the crowd making its way out last night, it feels okay to assume that he really was so glad to be there, that he appreciates so much.

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