Whitney’s performance on November 1st at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco was a mellifluous, upbeat show that left the audience swaying and equipped with melancholy smiles.
Lala Lala, an all-female, Chicago-based band, opened the show on a dreamy, slightly sad note. During the first three songs, lead singer Lillie West commented on how “this song was kind of sad too; it was all about goodbyes.” Promising a more upbeat trajectory with the following song, the band relied heavily on the drums; I could literally feel my heart thump with every beat. Covering Sharon Van Etten’s song, "Everytime the Sun Comes Up," Lala Lala encapsulated a soft aura, the pensive mood highlighted in the chorus. The band continued this trajectory the whole performance, offering lively tones with melancholy respites.
When Whitney came to the stage, the audience bombasted the auditorium with raucous cheers. Beginning with "Polly," the tone was soft, yet fun; reminiscent of the nostalgic days of childhood summer's past. Employing heavy use of the trumpets, the room was sent into a vivacious frenzy. Following this was a performance of "Dave’s Song" that Whitney offered a softer version of, with a more wistful melody.
Not all of the songs were adorned with lyrics. "Rhododendron," a purely instrumental song, displayed the band members altogether in unison, working in fantastic harmony that had piano solos and trumpet highlights. The sounds were sporadic and impactful, leading an emotional rise in the audience with its respective instrumental crescendos.
Ehrlich commented on several of the songs, one being "Follow," written during his grandfather’s passing. The ambiance of the room was further set with the lighting: a blue background provided morose atmosphere, juxtaposed against the initially fast-paced, cheerful tempo. An extremely skilled piano solo was exerted by Malcolm Brown, followed by a harmonious trumpet solo by Will Miller. The song concluded with Julien Ehrlich’s cascading drum focus, matching in line with Miller’s beats for an outstanding finish.
During the end of the show, Ehrlich tongue-in-cheek commented on the quintessential encore that Whitney would ostensibly perform.
“This is usually when we take our piss break,” before coming back to the stage to give their last highlight. Performing not one, but four songs during the encore, including, "SouthernNights" and "No Woman." Whitney left the audience with semblances of nostalgia, melancholy, and warmth.
All photos by Melody Niv
Melody Niv is a senior at UC Berkeley studying political science and history. In her free time, she enjoys doing stand-up comedy and reading about counterterrorism