By Alexis Camacho
A not-so-exciting Wednesday began with me crapping for my ecology midterm and quickly turned into a night of groovy dancing, singing, and even some crying at the San Jose Civic. With Omar Apollo and Ravyn Lenae taking the stage, I knew I was in for a treat as these RnB creatives helped form my music taste during my high school years. Hence, when they announced they were touring together on Omar Apollo’s Prototype tour, I knew I needed to be there, and thanks to bus 17, I was present for the funky show.
As Ravyn took the stage with her dreamy spirit, it was almost like she was floating and fluttering around the stage. Lenae began her set with “Satellites” from her 2022 released album titled HYPNOS. The title was quite fitting as she truly had me and the rest of the crowd hypnotized, matching, and following her every move. Ravyn Lenae also connected to her roots, playing her classic hits that marked the beginning of her career. In Particular, her 2018 tracks off her Crush EP like “4 Leaf Clover” which notably features Steve Lacy and “Sticky”. Her performance put me into a trance-like state and before I knew it I was waving goodbye and watching her all-red ensemble disappear into the void.
Ravyn left the crowd wanting more, and though sad to see her go, we were even more thrilled to see Omar. As the electric sound of Ivory (intro) began to play throughout the San Jose Civic, the entire crowd became possessed with excitement. Omar engulfed everyone’s attention and kept the crowd on our toes with his high-energy dancing, intense guitar solos, and mesmerizing background visuals and lights. Omar truly put on a show for everyone with how diverse his set was. From emotional ballads with heavy belting to more dancy songs with tinges of rap elements to even Spanish-focused songs: there was something for everyone. Apollo also played numerous songs from his fresh 2022 album titled Ivory. Tracks like “Talk”, “invincible”, “Killing Me”, and of course his most popular “Evergreen”, had the crowd shouting every word in unison with him.
Omar of course having strong ties to his Latin culture distinctly invokes a strong cultural connection with his audience and this could be felt strongly during the San Jose show. When Apollo brought out a mariachi band to perform “En El Olvido” and “Dos Uno Nueve (219)” the audience was visibly touched. I could see the crowd around me passionately singing along and some even shedding tears to the music. Apollo even displayed a Mexican Flag across the Background which had us erupting in cheers. Multiple audience members even shouted the Mexican ‘grito’ to show their pride for Mexico alongside Omar.
This show was nothing short of fantastic as both Omar and Ravyn put on stellar performances. My 15-year-old self who once worshipped Omar and Ravyn’s first works of 2018 and had been waiting for this moment for a while. This performance will now and forever remain in a constant loop in my mind.