Hayley Kiyoko
SWG3, Glasgow,
Friday, February 1, 2019

I SIGNED up to write my first gig review as soon as I heard that Hayley Kiyoko – an artist that I have admired for some time now – was bringing her Expectations Encore tour to SWG3. I was naturally excited, but I don’t think nearly excited enough to prepare me for the amazing emotional experience to come.

Kiyoko has gone from child stardom in Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows to being dubbed pop’s "Lesbian Jesus" by her fans, which gives you some idea of the affection in which she is held.

Now 27, the half Japanese, half Scottish singer was brought up in America and found solo success after playing with the Stunners from 2007 until 2011, releasing a number of singles and touring with Justin Beiber.

Walking into the Glasgow concert felt like coming home. The hall was completely packed with so many unique people all united and smiling, and I think there is something so powerful about how we all came together exactly in that moment.

There is a sense of joy that comes from sharing something wonderful with thousands of people you have never met and in all likelihood never will again.

As the show started, the rest of the world had already started to fade around us.

It was a magical moment when the star of the show stepped on stage, a feeling of unity throughout the audience which remained until the final notes.

When Hayley asked us “Do you feel the love in this room tonight?” the audience roared back the affirmative answer. I certainly did … and I don’t believe I’ll ever forget it.

My favourite moment was Girls Like Girls, the first Hayley Kiyoko song I’d ever heard. Everyone in the room was singing along, word perfect, when Hayley turned the microphone towards us. So many voices, so many different lives and backgrounds, and yet we joined perfectly as one. It was a special moment which seemed to restore a communal sense of faith in the good people of this world.

Hayley Kiyoko’s voice, the life-altering beauty of her lyrics, and the sense of connection with the audience combined to create an unforgettable concert.

The stage set was understated and elegant, the back-up dancers unbelievable, and the band well drilled. Did Hayley Kiyoko’s Encore tour meet my expectations? Absolutely.