As I was stepping into Irving Plaza in New York City, something was distinctly different that evening, While this venue has hosted countless bunches of fans and bands that have grace their stage. Jake Miller’s show was something different, In case you didn’t already know, Jake Miller belongs to that group of artists that I classify in the “if you know you know” category, meaning you probably don’t know him, but once you hear the name or a song of his, he seems to pop up everywhere. His fanbase is incredibly loyal, as well. They’re all very well connected with each other. They’re the ones who “know”. It seems that once you hear about Jake Miller, you become captivated with him like so many others have… and not without a good reason.
The pure energy that came from his Miller’s fans was exciting enough, but the performance itself just magnified the feelings of longevity, nostalgia and hope that seemed to be significant undertones in Jake’s work. It was this energy that Jake so naturally played off of, connecting with his fans throughout the evening. I was impressed with his ability to remain so genuine and humble even under the hot stage spotlights. During the show he, as many artists do, took the time to thank his fans. His fans thanked him right back with what seemed to be a never ending stream of cheers, applause and loyalty. Miller looked out at the crowd and stated: “That was like the happiest 10 seconds of my life right there.” His gratitude was never ending throughout the night.
So many artists don’t understand what fans truly do for them. All the hours they spend in line, all the money that they’ve spent on travel and tickets often goes unnoticed with artists. Nicki, a fan who’s been to over a hundred Jake Miller shows, traveling city to city, following the tour says: “I think he’s a really genuine artist and his lyrics are really important to me.”
And among these types of fans, I felt so comfortable. Jake made sure his shows were a notably safe place for his fans. Most shows, I’m not easily one to dance. However, in the back of the room, it felt foolish not to at Miller’s show. Everyone was involved in the show and Jake knew how to engage every single fan in attendance, from those grasp hold at barricade to those, like myself, hanging out in the back of the venue. What also set this show apart from others was Jake’s ability to showcase both his old and new work. Many artists struggle with creating a setlist, leaving off songs that otherwise probably would have been so well received from their fans during a live performance. Jake is able to keep a mix of fans happy by creating a comprehensive and engaging setlist that fans adore.
It was almost out of respect to his old fans that he did so. It’s these fans that he’s always sure to go above and beyond for. During the show, Jake proved that he understands his fanbase in a special way. He commented: “Shout out to anyone who has my lyrics tattooed on your skin, that means the world to me.” Beyond just that, Jake explicitly thanked the fans who had camped for hours and hours outside the venue prior to the show. Candidly, so many artists today just don’t get what it’s like to be a fan spending endless hours and dollars supporting their music idols. Jake significantly thanked the fans, staying truly humble among the roaring applause.
Jake Miller is known for supporting mental health initiatives and that energy was especially clear during this live show. One fan, Mikayla, explained to me her own interactions with Jake on this subject. Mikayla talked to me about Jake’s support of her #TeamBonny campaign, which is a suicide prevention campaign that was created after Mikayla lost her mother to suicide in June of 2010.
In an effort to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mikayla designed t-shirts and bracelets supporting the cause for the upcoming walk. Jake and his team supported Mikayla’s efforts by wearing the t-shirts and bracelets on stage during a suicide prevention show in Tennessee earlier this year. She says: “When I felt alone, Jake made sure I knew I wasn’t. He has helped my #TeamBonny campaign grow more than I could ever imagine and I could never thank him or his team enough for their support.”
Photographer, Ali Fitzgerald noted that “Jake makes music with the intention of saving a life. He knows the impact it has and on every album there’s always that one song.” When she told me that, I was in shock at how real it was compared to the show itself. The whole energy, the focus on friends and family, everything was meant to help someone feel whole again.
This show was very special for Jake too. It was filled with close friends and family. In the back, I stood near his sister, who was so enthusiastic to see him up on the Irving Plaza stage. During the show, Jake announced that he’ll be getting an apartment in New York City to be closer to her very soon. The fans were ecstatic and she seemed so overwhelmed with joy. He made this public and exemplified the importance of family within his life, a way to make it known to those watching that he is true to his values.
In the end, the show wasn’t what I expected. Never did I imagine that I would find myself at a Jake Miller concert, but I am, in some ways, grateful that I did. Something was different that truly night.
Check out our gallery of Jake Miller below by Ali Fitzgerald:
Review by Alex West | Photos by Ali Fitzgerald