The Forum has seen many different crowds in its time, but none quite like this.
Adorned with pride flags, glitter, wigs, and identical pairs of Vans, Hayley Kiyoko’s fans are bouncing with excitement and brimming with great expectations for the night.
Naaz warms up the crowd with her sweet, soft voice and sing-a-long choruses. Whilst few people in the room seem to have heard of her before, nobody hesitates to sing to “Loving Love” once they’ve got the hang of the refrain. Usually support acts have to tell crowds their lyrics and ask them to sing – but this is a crowd up for anything, and one entirely enamoured with her understated charm.
When Kiyoko herself arrives on stage, the term “lesbian Jesus” – as she is lovingly referred to by fans – makes immediate sense. From the opening refrain of “Under the Blue / Take Me In”, until the moment she leaves the stage, Kiyoko holds total power over everyone in the room. It’s in her confident, cheekily boyband-esque dance moves during “What I Need”, the teasing facial expressions made during “He’ll Never Love You (HNLY)”, and the impressive hold she has over her voice in the long notes of “Molecules”.
She is effortlessly cool and yet the same as everyone here – a little bit dorky, extremely giddy, and in a little bit of disbelief that she gets to have lights and dancers now. “They said, ‘Give the gays what they want!” she yells, laughing. This receives one of the loudest cheers of the night, of course – when else do we get to feel like we can do and be anything we want, like maybe we could rule a little kingdom of our own?
That’s exactly what the Expectations Encore Tour feels like – it feels like a victory for everyone, a victory that we made this happen. As strangers dance together to “Gravel to Tempo” and girls scream the chorus in each other’s faces, it’s as if the outside world doesn’t exist – we’ve created a place that we can be completely free and deliriously happy. Here, we can kiss the girl.