On an unusually yet delightfully warm October evening, the lights at Chicago’s iconic Lincoln Hall dim before shimmering in yellow light, soon to welcome Cian Ducrot to the stage—hailing all the way from Cork, Ireland. As he strides out onto the stage, the energy quickly shifts into something very intimate and communal, with the shine of the stage gleaming on both Ducrot and fans, almost as though the house lights are up as well—highlighting excited and beaming faces.
Ducrot sits down at a keyboard as the spotlight tunnels onto him gently. He opens with “Heaven,” an uplifting track that’s bursting with light and the perfect way to kickstart the night. The beat of the drums begins to amplify as Ducrot’s vocals soar. Mid-song, he shouts out Chicago and stands to interact with the crowd that has been reaching for him.
Quickly, he moves on to the next song, “Mama” which showcases the range of his stylistic abilities. A tribute to his adoration for his mother, with lyrics like “I wish one day that you wouldn’t hurt / ‘Cause Mama, you gave me the world,” Ducrot brings forth even more vulnerability to the stage. His tone has shifted into a more rhythmic rap that highlights his Irish accent, tying it back sonically to the song’s reference to his roots. With the electric guitar adding layers of rock, the show is multifarious from the start.
A distinct highlight of the night was Cian’s performance of 2023 album title track, “Victory.” With clarity and passion pouring into the microphone, he belts out the lyrics, “Oh, just leave me in your memory / ‘Cause my heart can’t take the part / Where you come back to me / Oh yes, I know it’s for the best of me / If I never fought, then you’d never have to leave / And the sweeter the / The sweeter the victory.” The crowd shares in the vulnerability as Cian follows the performance by saying his record is “hopefully inspiring people to look at their own lives and victories, whether they’re small or big” as well as to “celebrate our victories because we don’t do it enough, in fact, we don’t do it at all.”
Ducrot also slows it down a bit with more melancholy songs like “Him” and “Hurt When You Hurt Me.” With dreamy piano ballads and pleading vocals, he captivates and mesmerizes the audience with ease.
Before the night ends, Cian Ducrot directs the crowd to reflect his melodies and repeat his lyrics back to him, making the crowd sound more like an erupting yet delicate chorus. He uses hit song, “I’ll Be Waiting” as his emotional and cathartic farewell to Chicago—a city certainly awaiting his return.