Daniel Caesar is perhaps one of the most humble artists that has emerged from Toronto’s music scene recently. Over the past few years, he has quickly risen to the top of the R&B world with acclaimed albums Freudian, from 2017, and his latest release, CASE STUDY 01, which dropped earlier this year. It’s no surprise that the city welcomed him back for two packed nights at Budweiser Stage on September 28 and 29.
Local artists Kardinal Offishall and Sean Leon, who both feature on CASE STUDY 01, made guest appearances early on in the set performing their respective parts on the album. Daniel stood back and watched with a big grin on his face as he shared the stage with some of his best friends in the city and in the industry. With Charlotte Day Wilson opening for Daniel, it truly was a Canadian affair.
Every part of the set was executed with intention. Daniel’s calm demeanour was met with visuals and lighting to match. Two symmetrical screens hung floor to ceiling behind him, with video setting the mood of each song. There were no strobes, no flashing lights. The production was large, but the stage design created intimacy between Daniel and the crowd, with him often being the only visible person on stage. To his left and right, four vocalists lined the edges of the stage, and the rest of his band, on percussion, strings, and keys, hung out behind the draped screens.
The highlight of the show was when Daniel sat down to play solo with his guitar for the encore. He admitted it was his favourite part, too. This was another choice that just felt right for him. The entire night felt smooth and unscripted, and I commend the team for making the choices that best suited the music and Daniel for the live set. As fog swept across the stage and crept up on him as he finished with ARE YOU OK? and ENTROPY, the crowd swayed along into the cool fall night. The lyrics “I’ve finally found peace” really resonated throughout the last song and continue to be an accurate feeling of the set as a whole.
1. CYANIDE (w/Koffee)
2. LOVE AGAIN
3. RESTORE THE FEELING (w/Sean Leon)
4. Who Hurt You?
5. OPEN UP
7. COMPLEXITIES/Hold Me Down
8. TOO DEEP TO TURN BACK
9. Get You
10. Best Part
13. Japanese Demin
14. ARE YOU OK?