On a Tuesday Chicago evening, Jeremy Zucker, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter, has amassed a loyal crowd of bright and buzzing young faces, all looking intently toward the dimming stage at the iconic Vic Theatre. It is not long before there is a sudden vibration, followed by two rectangular structures both flashing blue lights, with an arising fog. It then all cuts to black he emerges between the illuminating rectangles, rising up through the fog and stepping on a pedestal surrounded by greenery and flowers. The ethereal sight only amplifies the music as the audience aren't afraid to verbalize their excitement. He opens with "i need you (in my life)" as his high notes soar and the crowd gives him just as much energy and passion back.
He soon plays a fan favorite track and steps much closer to the audience-- reflecting the vulnerable and candid nature of the song, "all the kids are depressed." The crowd is especially loud for this one, echoing throughout the entire theatre. Fans are clinging to each other and singing every lyric in each other's faces. The unity and closeness that one song can bring may be beyond what Jeremy himself is capable of viewing from the stage.
For "somebody loves you," he takes off his cardigan and isn't afraid to dance along with the vibrant crowd. The excitement and screams of the audience only build when he reveals a GoPro camera in his hand that is projecting onto the screens behind him. He records all the fans in his line of sight then turns around as though he is taking a selfie with them. It's after this that he admits, "I don't say this every night . . . but this is my favorite fucking show yet."
Throughout the night, Jeremy balances the energetic and explosive moments with some acoustic and gentle--giving fans a little bit of each to enjoy and to take in. With nothing but his electric guitar, he performs hit-song, "comethru," which also quickly shows itself to be a crowd-favorite. A choir of serene voices sing along to every single word--tender but loud and
powerful. Continuing to venture along this similar path for a few more songs, Jeremy plays songs, "scared" and "brooklyn boy" with unapologetic vulnerability. The night, however, was not ready to fade out just yet. At the end of "brooklyn boy," the percussion builds as the once black and white screen turn to a flashing and strobing rainbow. Another hit and fan-favorite, "not ur friend" begins and the audience responds accordingly- with cathartic screaming along to every single word.
Perhaps one of the most heartwarming moments of the evening was his call to bring a fan on stage to join him as he sang "cry with you," a song about letting a person know that you are there for them and that you choose to feel their pain with them, although you may not entirely understand what it is that they are going through. The fan he brings up is given the microphone and she tells the crowd of how coming to the show meant really stepping out of her comfort zone. Not only that, but Jeremy's music has gotten her through very hard times. She confides in the audience like a group of her closest friends, and they embrace her as such.
As the night comes to an end, Jeremy is sure to give the crowd all the energy and spirit he has left--jumping halfway onto the barricade to bellow out the lyrics to "talk is overrated," leaving the security guards a little nervous but the fans entirely elated. He makes sure to announce before moving on to the next song, "Chicago, I fucking love you."
For the encore, it's the acoustics of "always, i'll care" that we hear first before they slowly fade out, making way for Jeremy to emerge from the fog. The audience cheers with all the enthusiasm and passion still intact as though this is his first appearance on the stage. Next up is strikingly raw and hypnotizing track, "desire." For this, he sits on the grass as the fog around him grows and green lights shine down gently. This tender moment reverberates around the room, with a chorus of voices singing along. The night was about to end, but Jeremy has one last song left in store.
The lyrics to "supercuts" appear behind him, but the fans already know every word. The upbeat song ends the night on an enlivening note, where not a single soul wasn't dancing and jumping. Under the same blue lights from which the night began, it becomes time for Jeremy to say goodbye, and with a thank you, he fades again behind the screens.
Photo Credit: Evan Klein