On the night of Oct. 26, Daniel Caesar’s honey-coated voice brushed through the chilly autumn air of Berkeley’s Greek Theatre, intoxicating a roaring audience buzzing with anticipation. Bringing his “Superpowers” world tour to the Bay Area, Caesar and his live band accompaniment prepared to swoon the hearts of fans.
About an hour before Caesar made his appearance, Philadelphia-based Orion Sun danced her way onto the stage, her melodic voice and electrifying energy grasping the attention of fans and new-listeners alike. Otherwise known as Tiffany Majette, the singer-songwriter released her debut album A Collection of Fleeting Moments and Daydreams in 2020, featuring two of her most popular songs, “Antidote” and “Mirage.” In addition to these hits, Majette also performed her interlude “Without You,” which showcased her silky vocals before ending off the night with the tender “Dirty Dancer,” a sexually invigorating, Frank Ocean-esque song with soft-spoken lyrics of longing.
As the sun made an auburn descent behind the Campanile, audience members turned their attention toward the headliner. Gossamer white drapes descended, enclosing Caesar in a mysterious shroud of enigmatic allure. “I’m tryna breathe, why won’t you let me,” he began to sing, eagerly grasping his microphone as he circled beneath the curtains.
Caesar’s soulful aura perfectly encompassed all the R&B his newest album Never Enough has to offer, and as the curtains dropped down to the floor, Caesar’s figure emerged onto the hazy stage. Bringing fans back in time to his 2019 album CASE STUDY 01, Caesar paid tribute to his Jamaican descent with its raunchy patois lyrics: “Sweet melody, whine up yuh body ‘pon mi/ Yuh lovin’ baby girl, you know mi need it, need it,” he sang, his lush imagery and lovesick musings caressing the audience’s senses.
“Everyday and every other day, I’m playing a show in a new city,” Caesar explained, “So, I hear my own music, like, a lot.” Because of this, Caesar expressed his desire to perform other songs he enjoyed. Standing center stage and obscured by the dusk, Caesar slowly started to strum melancholic chords on his guitar.
“My heart is yours/ It’s you that I hold onto,” Caesar crooned onstage, casting a spell over the audience with his rendition of Coldplay’s acoustic love song “Sparks.” Staying true to his usual themes of lovesickness and devotion, “Sparks” proved a perfectly fitting, heart wrenching addition to the night.
After the brief performance, Caesar returned to his silly demeanor, joking that his “surprise” was spoiled from TikTok and other social media sites. To the audiences’ surprise, Caesar began to sing another song, “Fix You” from Coldplay’s 2005 X&Y.
Caesar promptly picked up a green guitar as panoramic videos of the audience panned on the screen behind the stage. “It’s this sunrise/ And those brown eyes/ You’re the one that I desire,” Caesar’s live rendition of “Best Part” was nothing short of the original recorded version. In fact, hearing it live brought forth fresh layers of intimacy, euphoria and healing. Every movement and amethyst burst of the stage lights further emphasized Caesar’s captivating aura, and audiences rejoiced in singing along to his esteemed love ballad.
Strategically selecting his closing numbers, Caesar serenaded with fan favorites “Cool,” “Get You,” and “Always.” And as if the original renditions aren’t already profoundly poignant, Caesar’s additional touches — extra harmonies and sprinkled-in vibratos — intensified the emotional resonance of each song.
As the concert drew to a close, Caesar delighted the audience with an unexpected treat: his evocative rendition of Kanye West’s 2008 hit “Streetlights.” Within the historic amphitheater’s echoing walls, Caesar’s soulful, melancholic performance truly made both the song and the evening uniquely his own.