Wild Child Review and Photos – WOW Hall, Eugene, OR
Words: Seth Thompson // Photos: Andrew Saputo
n a cool, spring night in late May, Eugene's historic Wow Hall became the epicenter of musical bliss thanks to Wild Child. A venue that has witnessed countless memorable performances over the years, it was a fitting setting for the band's final stop on their "End of the World" tour.
As I made my way through the crowd, I couldn’t help but reminisce about my years of youth spent in this venue. Yet, now older and somewhat wiser, the mere thought of being in close proximity to people made me break a sweat—a reminder of the lingering impact of Covid. Nevertheless, the anticipation was palpable, and I eagerly awaited my first concert with Wild Child, the group behind the soulful and spirited music videos that have captivated audiences.
The night commenced with a burst of 1970’s tunes and shimmering blue lights, courtesy of a rotating disco ball. It was the perfect prelude to the magic that was about to unfold. As the crowd eagerly awaited the band’s arrival, a stagehand sporting a “don’t trip” hat caught my attention. I later learned this was the rhythm guitar and ukulele player, who has contributed to the band’s lively, youthful videos.
When the moment finally arrived, lead singer Kelsey Wilson graced the stage and expressed their exhaustion, yet joy they felt at having created countless, cherished memories throughout the tour. With the scene set, the band kicked off their performance with infectious energy, starting with one of their popular songs, “Pillow Talk.” Kelsey’s vocals blended in harmony with the rhythm guitar, creating an enchanting atmosphere that filled the room.
Introducing each band member individually, Kelsey encouraged the crowd to form a human tunnel, an act that symbolized the band’s desire to cultivate love and unity with the audience. As they entered the tunnel one by one, the connection between the performers and the audience became electric. It was an intimate moment, a testament to the band’s authenticity and the special bond they shared with their devoted fans.
Throughout the concert, the band seamlessly transitioned between old favorites and new material from their latest album. The lead guitar, a beacon of happiness on stage with a perpetual smile, skillfully played a vibrant yellow Fender Telecaster, effortlessly weaving and bending each string. Meanwhile, Kelsey mesmerized the audience with her rainbow frock, gold hoop earrings, and pink-tinted sunglasses—an embodiment of the band’s eclectic style.
The concert showcased Wild Child’s versatility, with standout performances by each member. The frizzy-haired piano player’s dual keyboards added depth and richness to the melodies, while Alexander Beggins’ hollow body sunburst guitar blended old and new. The bass player, donning a trucker hat, jammed on his Fender Jazz Bass, delivering punchy, vibrant clear notes that reverberated through the hall. And not to be forgotten, the ferocious keyboard solos elicited thunderous cheers from the captivated crowd.
Guests were treated to a surprise collaboration when Kelsey invited the lead singer from the opening band, Próxima Parada, to join them on stage. Together, they delivered a mesmerizing performance of “Wearing Blue,” with Kelsey’s finger pointed to the ceiling, striking in unison with the high notes of the lead guitar’s solo. The audience sang along, their voices blending in harmony with Kelsey’s.
With an infectious enthusiasm, Kelsey announced, “This is the first song off our new album,” and the crowd erupted with anticipation as the opening chords of “Photographs” filled the air. The rhythm guitar gently strummed in a reggae-like rhythm, delivering light, optimistic, and vibrant notes.
Taking a surprising twist, Kelsey asked the audience to take a seat as she gracefully exited the stage, making her way to the middle of the crowd. Standing amidst her fans, Kelsey’s voice soared as she serenaded the audience with the heartfelt melody of “Follow Me.” The room was illuminated by a sea of phone lights, creating a captivating visual spectacle as the crowd sang along.Transitioning seamlessly, the band delved into the next song, a captivating ballad that began with long, earnest notes.
With the lead guitar player delicately picking at a white Stratocaster, Kelsey playfully announced, “Some of you may know this song. And if you don’t, I’ll teach you now.” The melodic chords of the guitar and Kelsey’s vocals seamlessly merged.
Kelsey orchestrated another human tunnel, this time welcoming Robbie and Regina, dedicated road managers who ensured the band got to every show seamlessly. As the tunnel unfolded, the band prepared to launch into “Sinking Ship.” Alexander dropped to his knees, strumming the ukulele with intensity. Kelsey took a moment to express gratitude, thanking the crowd for closing out the tour on such a beautiful note, before the band culminated the evening with a powerful rendition of “Expectations.”
As the band exited the stage, the crowd erupted into applause, unwilling to let the evening come to an end. The eagerly awaited encore commenced with another human tunnel, the band members entering and exiting through the crowd, amplifying the connection between performers and fans.
For the closing moments of the concert, Kelsey sang the heartfelt lyrics of “Reno,” – “I know my home is with you.”The audience joined in, their voices blending with hers. Kelsey’s heartfelt words resonated deeply as she proclaimed, “My heart is with everyone in this room right now.” The song crescendoed into a cascade of noise before effortlessly transitioning into the next track, bold bar chords striking with gusto.
In a grand finale, Kelsey closed the concert with “End of the World.” Both guitar players unleashed their infectious energy, their genuine enjoyment evident in every note. The concert reached its peak, leaving the crowd in bliss. As the final chords reverberated through the hall, the resounding feeling of elation lingered, a testament to the extraordinary experience of witnessing Wild Child at the end of the glorious and long road.