Review | Dominic Fike concert brings intimate experience to The Observatory

Dominic Fike performed at The Observatory in Santa Ana on Oct. 2 for his “Rain or Shine” Tour. Photo courtesy of Jasmin Sani

The fear of missing out is real. What once started off as an attempt to not feel left out from my friend group instead became an experience that I wouldn’t change at all — well, maybe except for the $100 VIP price tag. Dominic Fike’s “Rain or Shine” tour most definitely ended up being the latter.

There were a few missteps with The Observatory’s lack of communication with Future Beat, the company my friends and I purchased our VIP package from. Having been told we wouldn’t be guaranteed early entry, I showed up to the venue by my lonesome around 5:30 p.m., despite the fact doors open at 8 p.m.

Worry not, we were finally granted early access to the venue and we made a beeline to the merchandise booth; I refuse to be told those notorious phrase, “Sorry, we ran out of that size.” Once I was handed a complimentary tour shirt with my VIP pass, I can’t remember another time I did a double take and ran so fast to the stage – security had started letting general admission in.

Now don’t get me wrong, I get that venues want to stick to the original “Doors open at 8 p.m. and 8 p.m. only” rhetoric. But when you spend hundreds of dollars on additional passes, one of the benefits being early entry, I wasn’t aware that I would be granted a mere five minutes of extra time. Regardless, the spot I secured on the floor was unlike any other.

Flushed against the stage of the Constellation Room, my friends and I were so close that we actually plugged our phone chargers into the two by four outlet we found resting on the side. As we were waiting for the opener, Deb Never, to perform, the venue blessed our ears to the tunes of “Sexy Back,” “goosebumps” and “SICKO MODE” – which I’m certain all three have been used in my friend’s Spotify “Songs that make white people go crazy” playlist. Despite Deb Never having to deal with a broken piano pedal and being caught in the line of a marijuana smoke storm – Yes, second row girl, I did give you the death glare – she was amazing. A combination of lo-fi and trap reminiscent melodies left me gazing in wonder as Deb Never stuck to her word and got us “in our feels” with tracks like “Swimming,” “Ugly” and “Same.”

What I love about concerts is that you aren’t obligated to memorize every song to have a great time. The artist performing needs to have the presence and ability to connect with the audience through their lyrics, expression and energy onstage – and Dominic Fike checked off on all these boxes.

Spinning off renditions of his studio-recorded singles and EP “Don’t Forget About Me, Demos,” Fike brought to the stage a completely new wave of spirit by intentionally straining his voice and hitting home the personal attachment he has to his music. However, the performance that stuck out to me was not his most famous “3 Nights” or fake-people diss track “Phone Numbers” – it was a song that features a minute and a half long guitar and audio distortion interlude.

The emotion when performing “King of Everything” was clear on his face as he periodically looked away from the crowd and instead to the back of the room. Beginning the track without his band, he cast down his eyes, completely letting the weight of the song carry him through his performance as the audience hushed and took in his vocals.

After the lights turned back on, the beer and water bottles scattered on the floor discarded and the annoying girl in row two gone, my friends and I waited in the now-barren Constellation Room to meet and take a picture with the main act of the night. All I can say about the experience is Dominic Fike is one of the nicest and most humble singers I’ve met, and even if he didn’t actually care what I had to say, I was completely comfortable talking to him as if he was my friend – and I’ve never met this Florida man before.

A great performer and even greater artist, Fike’s concert was all worth skipping my Wednesday night class – sorry about that.