The lights go out in the Georgia Theater and four red circles come on, each one in bold black: “Haha.” Soon the room fills with erratic laughter and Faye Webster walks out.
On Wednesday evening, a day before the end of her fall headlining tour, freelance singer-songwriter Webster performed her penultimate show in Athens in front of a crowd of hundreds of fans and even some members of his family.
The Atlanta native said the Athens show was one she had been looking forward to due to the city’s unique association with her life, serving as the city where her family resides and where she has recorded each of her albums.
Before the concert began, attendees gathered on the theater floor, walking past the merchandise table, the bar, and something not often seen at concerts – a voter registration table. Webster has partnered with the nonprofit HeadCount to offer voter registration on specific dates on his tour.
Members of the crowd, who came dressed in clothing ranging from graphic tees and cropped shorts to flowing maxi dresses with handbags, vibrated with impatience as they eagerly awaited the performances of Webster and the opening act, Danger Incorporated.
Participants Kyndal Coleman, Sydney Lumapas and Jaida Griffiths became fans of Webster around the time of his latest album, “I Know I’m Funny haha,” released in June. They said the concert was their first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Griffiths even joked that she might get caught crying during this.
Although no tears can flow once the night begins with an energetic performance by Danger Incorporated, an Atlanta-based experimental hip-hop duo who wowed the crowd with a lively and fun set.
This was in stark contrast to Webster’s setlist which was more sonically relaxed, including songs from three of her albums as well as a “7 PM” cover of the game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”, which she performed. described as “very special and a meaningful song” which inspired her to seek therapy.
Used to revealing her feelings and emotions in her music, Webster took some time between songs to address the crowd, speaking candidly about things like how to perform in front of an audience for the first time in two years was crazy and “a little weird.”
The crowd mood changed from track to track, with fan favorite “In a Good Way” eliciting a string of cheers and a declaration of love for Webster from a member of the audience as “Overslept (feat. Mei ehara)”, Webster’s favorite song on his latest album, caused a synchronized dance consisting of side swings of a few participants towards the back of the theater.
As the night drew to a close, a stripped-down and intimate performance of “Half of Me,” closer to her last album, saw Webster at her most vulnerable as she stood alone on stage – attention was paid. tuned only to her voice and guitar while she sang. miss a lover so intensely that in their absence, a piece of his personal identity was gone.
“Thank you very much, Athens,” Webster said after the performance ended, leaving the stage to reappear with his bandmates to end the show with “Kingston,” his most popular song.
Once the theater lights came back on, attendees began to exit, but not before they sneakily attempted to retrieve a printed setlist off the stage, which led to a fan being reprimanded by theater staff. .
The crowd did not disperse but simply migrated out of the theater. Attendees took photos of the venue and themselves, discussed potential restaurants to eat in, and shared their thoughts on the concert.
“I just loved it when [Webster] was really going to get into music and really go on her guitar, ”said participant Madison Webb.
Indeed, Webster and his guitar at the center of the stage moving through a setlist full of songs about grief, loneliness and the place of love in it all moved his audience and left them with hope of his. return to the classic city.