Radiant, Glowing, and Infectiously Fun: Olivia Dean Live at the Eventim Apollo, London

Olivia Dean at Eventim Apollo, May 2024 © Rachel Min Leong
Olivia Dean at Eventim Apollo, May 2024 © Rachel Min Leong
Olivia Dean emanated sparkling joy and timeless soul, wrapping up her 2024 ‘Messy’ tour at London’s Eventim Apollo.
Stream: “Ladies Room (live)” – Olivia Dean




As the lights go out, a single spotlight pierces the center of a ceiling-to-floor silk curtain.

Olivia Dean’s silhouette graces the shadows as she begins the show opener, “UFO.” As the first chorus crashes into a myriad of instrumentals, the silk curtain is hoisted upwards from the ceiling to reveal Dean and her seven-piece band — enshrined in glistening mirrors.

Olivia Dean at Eventim Apollo, May 2024 © Rachel Min Leong
Olivia Dean at Eventim Apollo, May 2024 © Rachel Min Leong



The warm glow about Dean filled the energy in the room, as her soulful vocals reverberated through the venue. Airily floating across the stage, she leads us into a journey of highs and lows, holding our hand every step of the way. The third of her sold-out shows at the Eventim Apollo in London, it was also the final night of her Messy ‘24 tour.

Dean is just coming off her Coachella buzz and a critically acclaimed debut album; all about the messiness of personhood and self-discovery in love and life, the songs on 2023’s debut album Messy are eclectic as they are dynamic and expansive. The London-based singer is timeless and charming, maintaining an earnestness that shines through in her performances. The show at the Apollo housed a mix of old and new from Dean, and she was joined by two women-fronting opening acts: heart-on-her-sleeve Afro-Soul artist LULU. as well as rock duo Prima Queen. The latter took an acoustic rendition of their discography, joined by viola and cello.

Messy - Olivia Dean
Messy – Olivia Dean

The purple and blue of the venue’s lights reflected off the stage set, creating Michael Jackson-esque holographic hues, and subtle choreography was echoed by Dean’s backup dancers, nodding to artists like The Supremes. Dean upholds these classic traditions with a modern twist, the perfect accompaniment to her timeless songs. Where the first half of her set showcased her soulful range with tracks like “Dangerously Easy” and “What Am I Gonna Do On Sundays?” Dean upped the ante with “Ladies Room” and “Reason to Stay” in the second half of her set, getting everyone up and dancing.

It is clear that Dean’s music has been seminal to the audience in attendance, who like me, have resonated with Dean through the chaos of being a woman in your early 20s. It’s perhaps this bond that tied the magic together that night, and Dean’s unapologetic projections of “messy,” and Messy, that are the release we’re all subconsciously looking for.

Dean’s exuberant radiance was matched by her band, who blended together seamlessly and brought the same energy. The mini jazz ensemble dominated the bridge of “Ladies Room” with powerful solos, with the rest of the band shining in their big bow-out in the final song “Dive.”

Olivia Dean at Eventim Apollo, May 2024 © Rachel Min Leong
Olivia Dean at Eventim Apollo, May 2024 © Rachel Min Leong



Olivia Dean at Eventim Apollo, May 2024 © Rachel Min Leong
Olivia Dean at Eventim Apollo, May 2024 © Rachel Min Leong

Dean also took up a nylon acoustic sporadically through her set to debut some new and unreleased songs. One was about time, and not having enough of it, or perhaps wishing time would slow down for us. As an ode to her recent stardom, I still found the song really affecting and touching through my own lens of time. The song also debuted rock tendencies with belty vocals and choral guitars, a sound maybe presently unfamiliar to Dean’s current discography.

Wrapping up the set with unapologetic openness and vulnerability, Dean’s moving delivery of “Carmen” was flawless. A beautiful dedication to her grandma and all immigrant stories, she shed a little tear at the end, as did we all. Closing out the set with fan-favorite “Dive,” Dean proves you can lead with truth and sincerity, and its reception will always be unmatched.

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:: stream/purchase MESSY here ::
:: connect with Olivia Dean here ::



— — — —

Messy - Olivia Dean

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? © Rachel Min Leong

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