Harry Karpen/Photo Editor Daniyel opened for WILLOW, hyping up the crowd.

On Thursday, Oct. 7, WILLOW headlined the Student Association Programming Board’s (SAPB) first in-person fall concert since 2019. Despite some COVID-19 restrictions in place, concertgoers rocked out with the TikTok famous R&B singer and up-and-coming rapper Daniyel in the Events Center at Binghamton University.

Attendees had to wear masks and stand in pods for those with floor tickets. Aside from those on the floor, the rest of the attendants sat in the seated sections on the sides and back of the arena. General admission tickets were for the seated customers, which cost $25 per undergraduate student and $30 per person for graduates, faculty and staff. The pods cost $40 a person, and either had 4 or 8 people in each one. The pods were gated-off areas where the attendants could stand and dance with their friends, monitored by security guards at each floor entrance. Pods kept people separate for social distancing reasons, but still gave space still to dance and enjoy the show. Water stations were set up all around for free water as well as tables for merchandise.

The show began at 8 p.m with opener Daniyel’s performance. Despite being relatively unknown, the audience gave him an enthusiastic response. Daniyel played his more popular songs, such as “IT’S OK” and “LOST ONES,” which showed a lot of heart and grit. His other songs ranged from emotional rapping to loud bangers. One of these was a new, unreleased song that Daniyel called “Radio.” The energy in the room hit a new high and the beats made the room shake as Daniyel played call-and-response with the crowd. Daniyel, 19, was excited to discuss his performance after the show.

“I was shocked by the crowd’s energy,” Daniyel said. “WILLOW put on a great performance and I definitely wanna come back.”

After Daniyel left the stage, WILLOW began her performance at 9 p.m. Willow opened her set with “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l,” a song from her newest album, “lately I feel EVERYTHING.” WILLOW took a new artistic turn toward pop-punk on this album after sticking within the R&B genre for most of her career. The shift in genres led to a high-energy concert in the beginning — in the opening song, Willow screamed her heart out while playing an electric guitar with a three-piece band behind her. WILLOW’s singing overall was a major positive for concertgoers, including Janalyce Lane, a senior majoring in psychology, who was amazed at Willow’s vocal ability.

“I absolutely loved it,” Lane said. “I think her vocals are way more powerful in person than I ever expected them to be.”

WILLOW played many more songs from her recent album, including “Gaslight,” “don’t SAVE ME” and “Lipstick.” The audience was jumping up and down rocking out to WILLOW’s energetic performance — her excitement for her music came off strong to the audience.

David Collins, a junior majoring in mathematics, really enjoyed that aspect as well as the whole concert.

“I didn’t know her that well before, but she was amazing,” Collins said. “She had a great stage presence.”

As the set went on, WILLOW started to slow down for more soulful and lo-fi vibes. She played a fan favorite from her 2019 self-titled album “WILLOW,” called “Female Energy, Part 2.” The chill mood continued when fans swayed holding up their phone flashlights to “Come Home” while WILLOW sang in impressive falsetto and vocal runs.

Willow brought back the upbeat energy at the end of the show with one of her most recognizable songs, “Meet Me at Our Spot.” The song is from a collaborative album called “THE ANXIETY,” which features WILLOW and Tyler Cole. To the surprise of the audience, Tyler Cole came out on stage to perform the song with her. WILLOW, Cole, and the entire band were all engaged and looked like they were having a blast. Afterward, the whole arena sang along and danced to the last song of the night, “Wait a Minute!” WILLOW overall played for around 40 minutes, which some people believed was too short.

Even though there were complaints about the length of WILLOW’s set, many people left satisfied. COVID-19 restrictions did not interfere much with the experience. Collins was impressed by how everyone was able to come together and make it fun despite COVID-19 rules.

“Everyone was really respectful and having a great time,” Collins said. “That’s the way it should be.”