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An Evening With:Gallant and Sabrina Claudio

by Megan Armstrong

Sabrina Claudio and Gallant hit Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, and we were there.

The two sets couldn’t have been more different, but each accomplished the same goal.

Gallant performed first at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City Oct. 18. The 27-year-old R&B artist turned what was a muttering and impatient crowd into a singularly engaged audience.

Throughout his 45-minute set, Gallant covered every square inch of the stage. His body was surrendered to the music, convulsing in a way that seemed both involuntary while still intentional. His voice sailed into his signature falsettos that populated his 2016 debut album Ology and earned him a Grammy Award nomination in 2017. At one point, he sat on a stool and did a call-and-response session. All the voices in the room combined couldn’t hold a candle to the high registers he was able to hit.
Even so, he urged those who had heard his songs before to help him sing. But as soon as you began comprehending what he was delivering vocally, he was throwing his jacket into the air and hoisting the stool above his head. He couldn’t help it; he was totally uninhibited.

Gallant’s set list was as follows:

“Talking To Myself”
“Bone + Tissue”
“Sharpest Edges”
“Sleep On It”
“Doesn’t Matter”
“Weight In Gold”

“Sharpest Edges,” “Crimes” and “Sleep On It” are off of Gallant’s sophomore album Sweet Insomnia out on Friday (Oct. 25).

Also on Sweet Insomnia is a track featuring Claudio called “Compromise.” That title also fits how she and Gallant complement each other on this Truth Is Tour. In the time after Gallant finished and Claudio began, the energy simmered. One girl in the front row said to her friend, “I can’t believe I’m seeing Sabrina.” Moments later, Claudio emerged from behind a glimmering parted curtain.

The 23-year-old sauntered toward the microphone. She took a more stationary and sultry approach, her hips logging the most movement throughout the night.

For the first time, Claudio performed “Rumors.” Expectedly, her fans lost it at the sound of her newest single—a collaboration with Zayn that was released on Oct. 4, the same release date as her album Truth Is.

However, the cheers “Rumors” elicited were just the start of a much louder, building roar that would come.

“I’m not even gonna announce this next one,” Claudio teased later on, and as soon as “Belong To You” from 2017’s About Time, the room belonged singularly to her.

The decibel level just kept rising as she strolled through the bulk of her catalog:

“Too Much Too Late”
“Tell Me”
“Orion’s Belt”
“Messages From Her”

Between songs, Claudio took it all in. She said as much, declaring the night “a moment.” Several times, she used her hands as makeshift binoculars to convey that she was seeing each and every person that made the effort to come see her. “Am I giving you life?” Claudio asked to a riling response. “‘Cause you’re giving me life.”

Somebody in the front rows literally gave Claudio flowers. She shuffled over to accept them and uttered an “aw.” She took the bouquet with her back to the mic and held them while singing her last song, “Truth Is,” which she dubbed her “new favorite.”

The only time people expressed dissatisfaction was when Claudio announced “Truth Is” as her last song of the evening. “I guess this means I have to come back next year!” Claudio replied. Only, next year was too far away. She returned to the stage for one encore offering, “Confidently Lost.”

One thing was for sure for both Gallant and Claudio: on stage, they were every bit confident and not in the least lost.

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