Baby I’m back!” Lights belted out, igniting a crowd who’s been missing her since she last toured pre-pandemic. On April 22, Lights made her grand return to the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., on her Baby I’m Back Tour, performing her song “Prodigal Daughter” for the opening of her set. As she happily proclaimed the tour title during this opening song, it started a night of celebrating tunes from her latest album, PEP (or PƎP as her album cover says). I can’t get over how the tour title is so fitting, while also connecting to her music.

The pandemic was a hot topic during her dialogue moments, the singer relaying how happy she was to be back and how a few of her songs were written during those dark days. In a stripped down version of her and deadmau5’s song “When The Summer Dies,” she mentioned how much darker the song was in its rawer form, with lyrics touching on the end of the world. She also talked about how her latest album title is a sort of dark double entendre; when ‘PEP’ is turned upside down, you get ‘dEd’ (a.k.a. ‘dead’). There was no shortage of talking about the darker times, but it was also a reflection as well. Her new album is a poster child for both.

Lights and band
Lights and her band performing “February Air”
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Her set list included a mix of both new and older songs, going back to one of her first songs, “February Air.” She also played a few more of her collaboration songs, including “Love Me” which was a collaboration with DJ Felix Cartal and “Real Thing” a collaboration with musician ELOHIM. I was excited to hear the new PEP songs, but Lights commented how she kept it a mix in case fans attending didn’t have a chance to learn all of the songs yet, which was a fair notion given that she started this tour just a few days after the album released.

In ode to the new album (with this show anyway), the set started with a PEP tune as mentioned above, and ended with another PEP track, “Salt and Vinegar.” Jess Bowen, female drummer from famous band The Summer Set, brought uniqueness to this tour by adding more female energy to the stage, which is a rarity in the music industry. On a similar note, Lights also commented how this tour felt like true equality, with six women and six men in her crew, which was something I’m glad she made note of since it showed it is possible for artists to have a balance with their crew.

Drummer Jess Bowen
Jess Bowen playing drums
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Lights opener on this tour is singer/songwriter tiLLie, who is an alternative artist who describes her sound as “Nightmare Pop.” As she delved into her set, she gave us a lot of quirk and assertiveness in songs such as “Peachie” then going darker with songs such as “Flip a Switch.” However, she brought out her pop influence by covering Britney Spears’s song, “Lucky,” which she mentioned she enjoyed covering for its “emo” feel.

Singer tiLLie
Opening act, tiLLie
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

As with the previous time I saw Lights in concert, her fans were very kind and welcoming. Fans at the barricade glanced at me fondly as I was taking pictures during the sets, like, ‘this person is covering my favorite artist!’ It is honestly a nice change when I see that proudness over annoyance (which is also understandable since I block the best view for three songs, my nearly 6-foot-self making it hard to be discreet).

The artists themselves also made it clear why these fans were so kind; perhaps they emulate what they see in their idols. During her set, tiLLie gave a shout-out to a fan at barricade who was celebrating her birthday, the fan in tears as tiLLie acknowledged her. On the count of three, everyone proclaimed ‘Happy Birthday!’ and you could tell the fan was truly flattered that tiLLie did that during her set.

The sentiment between Lights and her fans was a joy to see. Without a second thought, the singer got up close and personal with fans, getting on barricade and holding audience members’ hands, as they sang along with her and celebrated being close together once again. She also happily wore a Trans Pride flag that a fan tossed up to her as she performed her song “In My Head.” Fans returned her love at different times, shouting “I love you” during the show which she acknowledged, and one fan even made a “Rest in Paradise Stanley” poster, for Lights’ recently passed cat that meant a lot to her.

Lights and band
Primary colors were key for celebrating the new album PEP
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Lights enthusiasm with seeing fans again was taken to the extreme on the next tour stop in Boston, when she jumped over barricade to be with fans on the main floor during the show, causing her to break her foot. Now, she will be going a little easier for the rest of the tour, but after seeing a few clips from shows that have followed, Lights is still giving it her all despite her injury.

The 9:30 Club show started around 6:30pm and wrapped up around 9pm, an early conclusion compared to many shows because the venue had another event following Lights. Many fans waited around to meet tiLLie at the merch area (which she announced she would do during her set), but as for me, I headed out, satisfied with the show.

Lights wraps up the Baby I’m Back Tour on May 7 in Toronto, Canada, with a few more U.S. dates lined up before that. You can see if she’ll be making a stop near you here. I can’t recommend the show enough, and even though she’s down a foot, she and opener tiLLie will make the night worth your while!

Singer Lights

Singer Lights
Lights rocks out on stage
Photos by Jenna Kauffman


April 27, 2022

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