Design by Grace Aretakis

Earlier this month, Michigan native Quinn XCII returned to his roots for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Meadow Brook Amphitheatre in Rochester Hills, Mich., was crowded hours before the show even began, both because of the excitement to see Quinn and because of the equally impressive musicians sharing the stage. Tai Verdes, known for “A-O-K” and “Stuck in the Middle,” two songs that soared on TikTok, started off the night, and Chelsea Cutler, a longtime collaborator of Quinn XCII, followed up Verdes. The audience was loud and engaged for both opening acts, and the joy of being back at a concert was palpable. There were tears, screams and hugs throughout the show. I have to admit, though I’m not the most seasoned fan of any of the artists, I felt myself getting choked up about being at a live show.

Quinn’s entrance on stage was welcomed warmly, with the crowd cheering and lights flashing. The energy turned up a notch as the sun went down, and Quinn’s grin could be seen all the way from the lawn where I was standing. He opened up with “Am I High Rn,” a song from his 2020 album A Letter To My Younger Self. I could barely hear him over the fans screaming along all around me. He quickly followed up with one of his most popular songs, “Stacy,” and I found myself singing along and dancing. Quinn knows how to carry himself onstage, making sure to cover every square inch of whatever area.

There was the perfect balance of intimate moments with the audience and jamming out to his discography. Obviously, for Quinn, being in Michigan is somewhat emotional. It’s where he was born and raised, and having attended Michigan State University, he found himself surrounded by old friends and family members. He even went as far as to have us sing “Happy Birthday” to his uncle in the crowd.

For those who are big fans of Quinn, the concert was a dream come true. But even for people like me who aren’t avid listeners, the connection between us and the artist being in his home state made the show special. 

Quinn XCII went through the typical setlist, playing songs off all his albums. He didn’t particularly focus on his most recent release, Change of Scenery II, and instead just played as many fan favorites as he could fit into his hour-and-a-half performance.

He ended the show with three songs featuring Chelsea Cutler: “Little Things,” “Flare Guns” and “Stay Next To Me.” Whereas in a normal show, people would start running out before the encore, the crowd mostly stayed put and waited until the last note of “Stay Next To Me” to head back to their cars.

I think the combination of a wonderful show and the pure exhilaration of being back at a live performance made it so that everyone wanted to savor every last second; we never know when the joy of live music could be taken from us again.

Daily Arts Writer Gigi Ciulla can be reached at