I went to the future at the Charli Live Tour.


Mason Montano

Charli XCX’s name on the marquis outside Fox Theater.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

On Wednesday, October 2, English singer-songwriter Charli XCX visited the Fox Theater in Oakland, California as part of the Charli Live Tour in promotion of her recently released third studio album, Charli. 

I purchased my tickets back in June when Charli and the accompanying tour were originally announced, obtaining a presale code upon pre-ordering the album. Yes, it’s that serious.

Before the tour began in late September, it was revealed that the first 50 people waiting outside the venue would gain access to an exclusive meet-and-greet with Charli herself. The show was scheduled to begin at 8:00 PM, with the doors opening at 7, so my friend Erick and I got in line at around 11:30 AM, but to our dismay, there were already more than 50 people in line. 

While I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to meet one of my idols, I was honestly just happy to be there and did not mind waiting in line for the next seven hours at all, although I was relieved when we made it inside. We got right up close too, with the stage in perfect view.

American rapper and Charli’s long-time friend and frequent collaborator Brooke Candy was the show’s opening act. I never used to be a big Brooke Candy fan, and I only knew a couple of her songs prior to the show, but after watching her set, I can say with confidence that I am officially a stan! 

Sporting a jacket bearing the message, “TRANS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS”, Candy’s set was phenomenal! She has a captivating stage presence, and I didn’t know that she was a singer as well, so hearing her singing voice live for the first time was a very pleasant surprise.

30 minutes later, it was finally time for Charli to take the stage. She opened the show with an explosive performance of “Next Level Charli”, Charli’s opening track, and her vocals paired with the powerful bass and misty atmosphere of the stage made me feel like I had ascended into gay heaventruly a life-changing experience.

The rest of the setlist primarily consisted of songs from Charli along with a few fan-favorites; including her controversial 2016 single “Vroom Vroom”, the hit 2017 single “Boys”, and the shimmery bop “Unlock It”.

Speaking of “Vroom Vroom”, the industrial electronic banger is one of Charli’s signature songs, and her fans, the “Angels”, are notorious for going absolutely feral when she performs it live. I can confirm that this track live is a terrifying and emotionally overwhelming experience. Everyone was jumping, screaming, and overall losing their minds — myself included — and I felt like I had fallen out of gay heaven and into gay hell, which isn’t much different to be honest.

Another standout performance was that of “Shake It”. For each show, Charli invited local drag artists and other entertainers that she discovered through social media onstage with her for the song, with the result being the best kind of controlled chaos I had ever seen. Brooke Candy, who has a feature on the track, joined Charli for the performance, and with their army of fans, the pair showed us all how to “shake it”.

Charli has been criticized for using autotune during her live shows, the effects of which were particularly noticeable during her performances of “Warm” and “Thoughts”, but while some may disapprove, I thought its use was tasteful and made her sound more futuristic. It was a very nice touch.

Her final performance was of her 2018 hit single, “1999”, closing the show with a bang and sending us all off into the future, and even though I didn’t get to meet her, she did wave at me when addressing the crowd. Validation: Complete.