Luke Hemmings: Rockin’ at the Riviera

Luke Hemmings: Rockin’ at the Riviera

By Lila Fierek

Luke Hemmings’ aura shone brightly during his first solo concert in Chicago, and it wasn’t due to his signature sparkly blue eyeshadow. The 2500-capacity venue – The famed Riviera –  teemed with enthusiastic showgoers. Hemmings, lead singer of 5 Seconds of Summer, opened the North American leg of his tour, “Nostalgia For a Time That Never Existed,” at the Riviera Theatre on Tuesday, May 21.  

Fans were eager to see the six-foot blonde after waiting several hours in 86-degree heat. The audience was attired largely in blue in homage to “Baby Blue,” from Hemmings’ debut When Facing The Things We Turn Away From

It was many fans’ first time seeing the Australian singer solo. While some questioned his ability to perform without the support of his three bandmates, the Sydney-native’s personality carried the day, silencing concerns. He brought a sarcasticyet powerful vigor to stage that could make any venue feel special. 

The Aussie artist launched the show shortly after 8:30 with “A Beautiful Dream.” As spotlights illuminated the crowd with rays of angelic white light, some whispered that the beginning of the concert must be what heaven feels like. The energy heightened as strips of confetti fluttered from the ceiling during his second song “Motion.” 

Hemmings, who is known for his slow, heavy ballads, joked that fans came to the concert for a good cry. His voice was rawer and more emotional live than on his records. The lights morphed to a dark blue during the slower segment of the show. Fans were disappointed tolearn that “Slip Away” had been omitted from the setlist. 

The tempo escalated when the singer urged the audience to dance for his cover of The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love.” He then surrendered to the song as he explored the stage while strumming his guitar.  

Hemmings noted that the next offering on the setlist  – “Garden Life” from his EP Boy is his favorite song that he’s ever written. The tune is widely believed to be about his wife and fellow singer Sierra Deaton.

The energy spiked for the final three songs of the night. Fans displayed blue paper hearts illuminated by their smartphone flashlights during “Shakes.” Amidst I’m Still Your Boy,” they held aloft posters that read, “You are Chicago’s boy.” Before he launched into the song, Hemmings spoke of his love for Chicago. The Windy City was referenced in the lyric, “You still ain’t Chicago, the things that I miss.” It deepened the song’s magic and the musician grinned as fans chanted the lyrics back to him. 

Contrary to the title, the vocalist closed the show with “Starting Line.” He capped it by opening his jacket to reveal a gray Illinois T-shirt, which prompted the crowd to erupt into woofs and hollers.

The North American leg of Hemmings’ tour continues through early June, after which the Aussie returns home for four last shows. His final US date will be at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Palladium on June 6, the second of his two-night stand.


  • A Beautiful Dream
  • Motion
  • Close My Eyes
  • Saigon
  • Comedown
  • Diamonds
  • Place in Me
  • Benny
  • Mum
  • Bloodline
  • Promises
  • Baby Blue
  • Friday I’m In Love (Cover)
  • Garden Life
  • Shakes
  • I’m Still Your Boy
  • Starting Line 

Tour Dates:

  • May 27 - Washington D.C. - 9:30 Club
  • May 28 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Paramount
  • May 30 - Ontario, Canada - History
  • May 31 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre
  • June 4 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
  • June 5 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium
  • June 6 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium
  • June 12 - Melbourne, Australia - Palais
  • June 13 - Newton, Australia - Enmore Theatre
  • June 14 - Sydney, Australia - Enmore Theatre
  • June 16 - Brisbane, Australia - The Tivoli