With three EPs and a full-length studio album under his belt, Omar Apollo’s “Desvelado” tour setlist makes careful selections from the musician’s projects. But the latest addition to his catalog – the masterful and eclectic “Ivory,” with its creative immersion and genre-bending style — is what prompted the Mexican-American singer to fully unleash during his sold-out Los Angeles show at the Shrine on Friday night.
A wall of synchronized screams greeted the 24-year-old onto the stage as the gentle strums and guitar melodies of his opener, “Talk,” washed over the crowded hall. Despite wrestling with initial sound issues, Apollo kicked off the show with an ebullient swagger, playing his own guitar riffs through the first half of the night.
More from Variety
Dressed in oversized blood-orange matching pants and jacket, Apollo performed songs from his early discographies, like 2020’s “Useless” from his mixtape “Apolonio,” and some from his debut EP, “Stereo” – like the lingering “Erase” and the unreciprocated love anthem, “Ugotme.”
Mid-set, Apollo summed in songs from “Ivory” starting with “Killing Me,” which saw the singer smoothly transitioning between the track’s bilingual lyrics and distorted guitar licks. His new songs were rendered loud enough to reach the tails of the Shrine’s stretched hallway, providing fans with an unmatched perspective and contagious energy.
That fans were eyeing and screeching for him was almost beside the point; Apollo was fully in his element, thrusting his hips and twirling across the stage, spitting lines from the jam-packed flow of “No Good Reason.”
The highlight of the night, however, commenced as the ultimate emblem of Mexican pride – the country’s red, white and green flag – found itself on Apollo’s back just as he had decided, “Let’s get into our real Mexican shit.”
Suddenly, an all-female mariachi band stepped onto the stage to aid Apollo’s emotionally charged ranchera, “En El Olvido.” Gritos spurted amongst clusters of fans as Apollo’s elastic howls and controlled vibratos filled the room – an effect augmented by the traditional trumpets and strings. Apollo kept the passion at a high, following the mariachi performance with his 2020 corrido, “Dos Uno Nueve (219).”
The rest of the concert played out like a full-blown party with Apollo taking a moment to catch his breath to tell the crowd “this is the biggest show I’ve ever played.”
White confetti showered the hall as his falsettos sprang through for the set’s closing songs: his and Kali Uchi’s collaborative “Bad Life,” “Want U Around” and, of course, the intoxicating, Neptunes-produced “Tamagotchi.”
For the encore, Apollo couldn’t help but play the illustrious and punchy “Tamagotchi” once more with his team and friends beside him on stage. As fans dispersed for the night, “Tamagotchi,” echoed through car speakers in the crowded parking lots full of content (and sleepy) Angelenos.
U Got Me
No Good Reason
Hit Me Up
Waiting on You
En El Olvido
Dos Uno Nueve (219)
Want U Around
Best of Variety