Live Review: Teddy Swims / Saibh Skelly – The Academy, Dublin 29.05.2022


Three months later than anticipated, Teddy Swims finally made his Dublin debut, as he brought his ‘Tough Love’ world tour to The Academy last night for the first of two nights celebrating his January EP ‘Tough Love’, and it was worth every bit of waiting.

Jaten Dimsdale, or Teddy Swims, stopped off in Dublin, marking the halfway point of his European tour, following a two-month run over in America. Originally set to be in February, the Atlanta artist (whose pseudonym surname Swims is an acronym for ‘Someone Who Isn’t Me Sometimes’, perfectly describing his versatility) had to push back the tour due to rise in COVID-19 cases, but the excitement in The Academy was far more than just three months’ worth.

The night kicked off at 8pm with support from 18-year-old Dublin-based singer songwriter Saibh Skelly who came onstage with just her guitar to an excited crowd.

Skelly, who recently had her debut EP ‘Undercover Heartbreak’ reach the top 10 in the Irish album charts, only got asked to support the night before the concert, due to Swims’ original support act Victoria Canal falling ill.

Although performing to a rather talkative crowd, Saibh Skelly still managed to get most of the crowd on her side, as she performed an eight-song set, of mainly original material, mostly unreleased, with some being as freshly written as only days or weeks prior.

With songs about overcoming heartbreak, to finding new love, to Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dreams’, Saibh managed to go through a wide range of emotions during her set, an early sign of the night that was yet to come.

Taking into consideration how last minute Saibh Skelly got asked to be the support act, and the talkative crowd, with some still expecting the original support act Victoria Canal, Skelly did a great job of setting the tone for the night and easing the crowd into a night of singing, dancing, and cheering.

Saibh Skelly’s Setlist

Sly

Superficial

Tell Me in The Morning

Heaven and Hell

When You Love Someone (James TW cover)

So What?

Teenage Dream (Katy Perry cover)

You’ll Be the Last to Know

Following Saibh’s performance, excitement levels were high, the venue was full of fans, and then came Swims’ pre-show playlist, made up of iconic songs from Mariah Carey, Abba, Whitney Houston, and Shania Twain (to name but a few). This playlist had fans dancing and singing along, all while the stage was being set up

At 9:00, Teddy Swims’ band ‘Freak Freely’ came on and started playing the opening track ‘Til I Change Your Mind’, shortly followed by the walking onstage of Swims himself to a huge cheer.

Swims then went through the first song, followed by ‘Broke’, and ‘Blowin’ Smoke’, before opening up and saying he wasn’t having a good day, but thanks to the “beautiful faces” of Dublin, he was feeling better.

Swims went on to explain he found out earlier in the day about the death of his best friend and uncle, a man who guided him and helped his journey, so it was set to be an emotional night.

Swims performed an unreleased song called ‘PTSD’, where he got the crowd to sing along the melodies, before thanking the crowd; “Thank you for letting me get vulnerable with you. I needed this.”

He then performed a cover of Mario’s ‘Let Me Love You’, a song that he explained “changed his life” and is the reason he’s where he is nowadays, referring to his cover online, which is now at over 70 million views, which boosted his career. During this song he walked around the front of the stage, holding hands with eager fans as he sang, and encouraged them to sing the choruses.

Teddy Swims went on to describe his time in Dublin, or as he called it “the drinking capital of the world”, where he found himself grateful for a “real ass shepherd’s pie and a bomb ass Guinness”. Swims spoke of when he worked in an Irish bar, but the Guiness wasn’t that good, and said he was “blessed to be in this beautiful city [Dublin] for three days.”

Swims then sat down for a more intimate portion of the set, starting with ‘Amazing’, which he dedicated to his girlfriend who’s currently on tour with him. Lyrics such as “I’m the lucky man in your bed”, “You look amazing”, “You turnin’ heads in every room”, it was clear to see how much she means to him.

After a cover of Shania Twain’s ‘You’re Still the One’, a fan shouted up at him to perform Chris Stapleton’s ‘Tennessee Whiskey’, to which hundreds of fans cheered in support leading Swims to say “this wasn’t on the setlist, and I haven’t done it at any other shows, or rehearsed it, but now that I’m in Dublin and the love you’ve shown me, I’ll do it.” This change in setlist, and the seemingly fan favourite cover being performed, caused for the biggest cheer of the whole night, causing him to cry onstage.

“This next one is another sad song”, he said after regaining composure, “this one’s for you Dewey”, causing an explosion of cheers and the crowd chanting. He then went on to sing ‘Simple Things’, a song about appreciating the simpler things in life. During this song, Swims broke down in tears onstage, along with a teary-eyed guitarist by his side, but carried on throughout the song, ending in the longest applause of the night, as fans clapped to show their support to Swims.

“Life is such a beautiful thing”, he said. “For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m doing the right thing here.”

The night ended with ‘Bed on Fire’, followed by a “Dublin, you f*cking rock”, “I love you guys so f*cking much”, “I’m Teddy Swims, these are my best friends in the world Freak Freely, the best band ever. God, I love this city.”

Emotions, Vulnerability, Love, and Appreciation were prominent themes through the night, as Swims often found himself in tears before the crowd cheered for him. Despite it being sold out, there was adequate space inside the Middle Abbey Street venue for people to dance, hug, and move around without feeling too squashed.

A powerful night of music. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the return of Teddy Swims to Dublin. If you’re not aware of Swims and his musical journey, I’d highly recommend checking him out, and going to see him live whenever you can. A super concert full of raw emotion.

Teddy Swims’ Setlist

Til I Change Your Mind

Broke

Blowin’ Smoke

Dose

For The Rest of Your Life

My Bad

Somebody Should Kiss You

Love For a Minute

PTSD (unreleased)

Night Off

Let Me Love You (Mario cover)

Amazing

You’re Still the One (Shania Twain cover)

Tennessee Whiskey (Chris Stapleton cover)

Simple Things

Life

911

Bed On Fire

Follow Teddy Swims here

Stream ‘Tough Love’ here

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1 Comment

  1. […] Saibh performed a pretty similar set to what was performed only weeks prior when she supported Teddy Swims in Dublin (review found here) […]

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