The Riviera Theatre boomed with the sounds of Omar Apollo’s debut album “Ivory” along with a few of his throwbacks on May 5. His concert at the Riviera (4746 North Racine Avenue) was the 16th show of his “Desvelado” tour, and the closest to Hobart, Indiana, his hometown.
Apollo was preceded by two openers, Tora-i and Deb Never, who both electrified the packed crowd in preparation for Apollo’s set. Deb Never performed her latest upbeat rock anthem “Crutches,” embodying her captivating stage presence.
Fans welcomed Apollo and his band with thunderous applause as he strolled across the stage to perform “Talk,” one of the many songs on his newest album that explore the alternative/R&B sound. Despite his album being out for less than a month, the crowd belted every lyric with confidence.
Apollo’s setlist contained a generous mix of songs from his April 8 release “Ivory” and 2020 release “Apolonio.”
The crowd cheered ecstatically as Apollo bounced across the stage to one of his most popular songs, “Kickback.” The ambient lighting matched his jubilant dance breaks and fed off the crowd’s energy in the process.
After multiple throwback songs, the tone of the concert shifted from a hip kickback to a ‘carne asada,’ or a Hispanic/Latino version of a barbecue. Apollo and two of his band members brought out folding chairs and guitars to accompany him in the performance of his Spanish hits. The crowd cheered as Apollo and his band cracked open a few Mexican beers before they began.
Apollo doesn’t shy away from embracing his Mexican American roots — this performance was no exception. He blissfully sang the lyrics to his Spanish corrido, “En El Olvido,” meaning “in oblivion.”
“Jamás tuve esperanza / Me pegó la bala, sin tu calor,” he belted. These heart-wrenching lyrics translate roughly to “I never had hope / The bullet hit me, without your warmth.”
The song, titled “Evergreen,” enchanted the crowd with Apollo’s riffs and vocal talent. Phone flashlights appeared in waves swaying along to his lyrics. The somber tone quickly reverted back to excitement for the concert’s conclusion, where he ended with “Tamagotchi.”
Apollo came back for three separate encores, finishing with a second performance of a crowd favorite, “Tamagotchi.” The stage burst with energy, with one band member waving a Mexican flag as Apollo enlivened the crowd with his upbeat hit.
The artist continuously thanked his Chicago fans for their vivacious energy, saying their support made his night. He acknowledged his parents, seated in the upper balcony of the venue, with a loving wave and smile before parting ways with his fans.
Apollo’s concert at the Riviera Theatre was nothing short of an exhilarating ride. There wasn’t a single moment where his charismatic spark dwindled — it raged brightly throughout the night and was undoubtedly fed by the crowd’s high spirits and boundless vigor.
Omar Apollo’s debut album “Ivory,” and his entire discography are available on all major streaming platforms.