When it comes to performing, Christian French pays attention to the details. Upon entering the Blind Pig, a large crescent moon illuminated the stage. It was a centerpiece for his tour, named after his newly released EP, bright side of the moon. Ann Arbor was the first stop, and eager students packed up against the walls of The Blind Pig in anticipation of the opening performance. They repeatedly chanted the singer’s name in the moments leading up to his entrance and erupted into cheers as he ran on stage sporting a University of Michigan jersey given to him by a fan. French opened with his 2018 single, “superstars,” a love song about enjoying the glory of youth, a common theme in not just his music but also the tour as a whole.
French kept the energy up at full throttle, jumping into one song after the next and constantly encouraging the crowd to sing along with their hands in the air. He had a presence that engaged with every part of the audience as he migrated to different parts of the stage and even performing at the very edge, as if he wanted to get as close to his fans as possible. This kind of genuine spirit could be felt palpably by the crowd. As I looked around, everyone appeared captivated by French, eagerly waiting to see what he would do next.
French’s ability to connect so well with the college crowd probably stemmed from the fact that he recently was just a college student himself. The 22-year-old singer was a pre-med student at the University of Indiana before deciding to drop out to pursue a career in music. And he’s no stranger to Michigan ― the singer performed at The Blind Pig a little less than a year ago and opened for Quinn XCII at the Fillmore in downtown Detroit this past Winter.
After playing a handful of songs from his older projects, including “Fall For You,” the first song he ever recorded, as well as a tune off his new EP titled “head first,” French paused to explain the story behind “Sweet Home.” French wrote the song about his experience moving from Indiana to California, and how daunting and exciting the transition was. He offered another pause before performing the heaviest song of the night titled “Dying Alive.” Behind his keyboard, French explained how he suffered from anxiety and destroyed the romantic relationship he was in because of it.
Before playing “Time of Our Lives,” one of his unreleased songs, he politely asked the crowd to put their phones away and simply live in the moment. After all, he pointed out, “We are literally the only ones that get to experience this.” The timing of this request couldn’t have been more perfect — “Time of Our Lives” is all about being present and enjoying every moment we have, and the crowd cheerfully swayed along to the music, seemingly content without their mobile distractions.
French wrapped up the show with “bright side of the moon,” the album’s title track, which captures the album’s focus on seeking positivity even when the rest of the world seems to be tossing around negative thoughts. He then returned his University jersey to its rightful owner in the front row, which revealed the other University jersey he was wearing underneath with “French” printed on the back. He ended with his hit song “love ride” before running off stage.
But the crowd wasn’t done with him yet. Cheers for one more song pulsated throughout the venue, and French reappeared to perform one last and arguably his most popular song, “By Myself.” After the show, French offered a meet and greet with fans, just another example of how he wants to invest in his fan base and give them an experience they will always remember. As an artist still trying to make their way into the big leagues of music, Christian French has the tools he needs to reach new fan bases and build a successful music career. French delivered a seamless opener, and there’s no doubt he will continue to impress audiences as he takes on the rest of his fall tour.