How Quinn XCII Brought A Live Sporting Event Experience To ‘The People’s Tour’ 

TOUR GOALS: During a June 16 stop at Chicago’s Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Quinn XCII dresses for the occasion in a Cubs jersey. Photo by Trevor Roberts

There’s nothing quite like the energy at a concert, from the interactions between the artist and fans to the power of live music to uplift one’s spirits. Nothing really compares, unless perhaps you’re talking about the excitement and connection found at a live sporting event. Platinum singer/songwriter Quinn XCII recently took his show to the next level by incorporating elements of a live sporting event into his trek “The People’s Tour,” including a jumbotron with custom messages submitted by fans, “courtside seating” and themed merchandise.

The tour was in support of Quinn’s latest full-length album, The People’s Champ, which was released in January on Republic Records.

“The album is about self-acceptance. And just realizing that you don’t have to be anything that you’re not, but it also has this sports branding along with it that we thought was just funny and quirky. I got to dress up in all these funny athlete outfits and just sort of play into a character a bit,” says Quinn XCII, whose take on pop music incorporates elements of hip-hop and reggae.

He explains that when brainstorming, he and his manager Jesse Coren, founder of New York-based artist management company Mutual Friends, are always “going back and forth, ping-ponging ideas” and a lightbulb moment happened while at a Brooklyn Nets basketball game.

“Looking around and seeing how NBA games are structured … It’s stimulating on all fronts,” Quinn said. “There’s always something going on — even when the play is stopped. It kind of clicked at some point. I was like, ‘The album’s already sort of sports-themed. Why don’t we kind of play into fans coming to a sporting event, like we’re putting on a mini basketball game, but it’s actually a concert and we can still do all the fun fan engagement sort of things that you see at these sporting events?’ … I just love the interactiveness of what sporting events bring to the table. And for us, we always want to make sure fans feel they’re a part of the show and not just watching it.”

Fans pose with Quinn XCII during a meet and greet at his 2023 “People’s Tour.”

The tour’s jumbotron, which Quinn explains was “more like two big LED walls [that] definitely had the illusion of a real one,” was used to display a “Kiss Cam” and “Dance Cam,” along with custom messages submitted by fans including inside jokes and a marriage proposal.

Following opening sets from Julia Wolf and A R I Z O N A, a recorded pregame segment was played on the jumbotron to officially welcome fans to “The People’s Tour.”

Quinn collaborated with media platform, production company and lifestyle brand Friday Beers to come up with a script for the recorded pre-show, halftime and post-show commentary, delivered in the spirit of “corny sports anchors,” which Coren notes was “very much in his humor.”

The VIP experience got the sports treatment including gold and silver medal packages that were custom-made along with meet-and-greet photos on a winner’s podium and “courtside seating,” aka side-stage seating, during Quinn’s performance.

The North American leg of “The People’s Tour” (which was promoted by Live Nation and booked by Wasserman Music) launched May 5 with a gig at Boston’s MGM Music Hall at Fenway (5,007 tickets sold and $256,314 grossed) and ran through a June 17 show at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights, Michigan, followed by a European run that was booked July 12-31. Highlights from the tour included a May 6 stop at New York’s Radio City Music Hall that sold 5,864 tickets and grossed $392,746, according to Pollstar Boxoffice.

“Quinn brings so much energy, enthusiasm, and passion to his live performance, so we wanted to highlight those elements through the tour and bring his vision to life in a way that connected with his fans. He and his team are very hands-on when it comes to touring decisions, so they were involved in all aspects of the process, which I love as a promoter,” says Lesley Olenik, SVP of Global Touring at Live Nation.

Coren points out that it “took a village” to make the tour happen, including Mutual Friends’ Head of Touring Alex Feld and day-to-day manager Daisy Tom, along with his agents at Wasserman Music, Matt Adler and Evan Hancock (who book dates worldwide excluding UK/Europe). The team also included Mike Temrowski and Carlos Katsurayama (Creative Direction); Carlos Katsurayama (Lighting Designer / Lighting Programming); Zach Snyder (Production Director); Alex Slohm (Production Manager); Zack Fulton (Tour Manager); Matty Vogel / Bryce Gildner / Hilary Cheung (Video Content); Atticus Mulkey (VJ); Upstaging, Inc. (Video/Lighting Vendor); Clair Global (Audio Vendor); and Cale Conrad (Front of House).

Fans share a moment during Quinn XCII’s People’s Tour.” Photo by Daisy Tom.

“Alex worked with [Quinn] on building out a storyboard in a sense of what the run of show would look like, starting with the pregame show,” Coren says. “It was actually done a bit differently than we’ve done in the past. We’ve gone to a production company and basically said, ‘Hey, here’s this idea. Now run with it.’… It was done much more in-house for a couple of reasons. Obviously, one, just creatively having more control but two, the cost, we were able to utilize a lot of people within our camp. …. Alex [worked] with different vendors and different people on the production side to say, ‘This is what we want to do. How do we make this work in a venue across all these different sized rooms at this cost and with these capabilities?’”

Quinn made sure to give props to the fans, saying, “It totally would not have worked if we didn’t have such amazing fans in the crowd that were willing to participate … even putting them on the jumbotron for ‘Kiss Cam’ and having these genuine reactions. They really embraced the idea so well. … As with every project I put out and every idea, they’re just always welcoming and really great about the creative decisions I make. … It was just a cool reminder of how much I really appreciate them.”

Quinn XCII is currently playing a run of U.S. gigs ahead of his first baby being born that are dubbed “Dadchelor Party 2023.”

“We see Quinn as a career artist, similar to a Dave Matthews Band or Pearl Jam – one that will continue to grow his fanbase but always be mindful of his day-one fans who have been with him since the beginning,” Olenik says. “I’m excited to see where his music takes him and I’m grateful to work with such a great person and artist.”