Walking into the Fillmore Philadelphia on a cool September evening might bring you a night of dancing alongside your lifetime best friend, or maybe a night of reciting the lyrics you have inscribed within the walls of your mind. But this past weekend, the Fillmore was the place to fall in love. It was the 21st stop on Daniel Caesar’s CASE STUDY 01 Tour, complementing the release of his sophomore album this past June.
The project was quietly dropped after the radical success of Freudian, an album featuring R&B anthems such as “Get You” and “Best Part.” Caesar has perfected the trope of the hopeless romantic, pairing it with his hypnotic vocals and balanced tracklist to perform a perfect show.
The night began with the opener, Koffee, a Jamaican reggae singer whose infectious energy immediately pumped the crowd up and got everyone moving. She performed only a handful of tracks before departing from the stage, giving just the right amount of entertainment to the audience without leaving them to check their watches in hopes for the main act.
The main act arrived shortly thereafter. Bathed in a pool of deep red light, Daniel Caesar emerged following the spiritual narrative introduction in “ENTROPY” before transitioning into “CYANIDE.” Donning a white Supreme t–shirt and maroon baseball cap, his calm demeanor only ignited the eclectic line of teenagers in the front row. The first half of the show passed seamlessly as he sang tracks from CASE STUDY 01, with each song fading into the start of the next.
Throughout the set, Caesar wove between an acoustic guitar and deep blue lighting or just a microphone and a golden glare on the stage behind him. When the initial seconds of “Get You” came on, the response from the crowd was overwhelming. They sang the entire first verse as Caesar stood, microphone pointed away from his face, with a grand smile plastered. The song is a quintessential ballad for first romances; glancing around, many couples swayed into one another with their eyes closed while mouthing the lyrics. It was tangible intimacy, as the stripped–down nature of the song reminded fans of their own experiences. The next few tracks also came from Freudian and were clearly the most popular of the night, such as “Blessed,” which former president Barack Obama deemed one of his favorite songs of 2017.
This balance between older and newer songs kept the entire audience engaged, and shouting for a return from the singer when he fled after “SUPERPOSITION.” His encore consisted of “Japanese Denim”—another cult classic within his discography, and one of the first tracks that brought his name into public conversation. The singular best moment of the night came at the very end as a surprise, when Caesar quietly slipped into the first verse of “Death & Taxes.” A rare track for him to perform live, it was almost unrecognizable at first, and ended as quickly as it began. The room was quiet enough to hear the static as his fingers moved along his guitar strings. As he dragged out the last syllable, the lights slowly flickered on and the artist bid his final goodbyes.
Daniel Caesar’s music captures a snapshot of what it’s like to drift in and out of emotions, to break someone’s heart or heal your own, to find clarity in confusion. His intimate sound and narrative lyrics turned the Fillmore Philadelphia into the ultimate romantic setting. The warmth his artistry exudes is the type that lingers, long after the set has ended and the Uber has been called.