IN PHOTOS: Chappell Roan transforms The Basement East into electric slumber party

Chappell Roan’s “Naked in North America” tour is far from “Casual.”


Chloe Postlewaite

Chappell Roan performs at The Basement East, photographed on Feb. 23, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Chloe Postlewaite)

Chloe Postlewaite

Despite being an avid concertgoer, I’ve never seen one open with drag queens like Chappell Roan’s “Naked in North America” tour. I was thrilled it included a stop in Nashville and knew I had to go. Roan’s music has become an obsession of mine recently, and it had been too long since I last attended a drag show. My expectations going into the night were high, but they were somehow still exceeded.

In lieu of using a band to open the concert, Roan instead opted for a drag performance featuring three local drag queens: Cya Inhale, Delta Granta and Alexia Noelle Paris. The queens energized the audience, dancing and joking with the crowd.

The excitement from the drag queen openers built into an explosive beginning of Roan’s set. The singer opened with “Naked in Manhattan” — a hit song and the inspiration behind the name of her tour. Roan referenced the song’s lyrics in the fashion theme she announced for her Nashville concert: “slumber party kissing.”

The audience sang along as she transitioned into “Love Me Anyway,” followed by “Feminominon.” Roan’s electric energy continued throughout the concert, matching the sparkly tinsel and disco balls lining the stage behind her.

Roan and the drag queens took time to acknowledge serious topics underlying the show. Governor Bill Lee signed a bill prohibiting drag shows in public and in front of children. Inhale urged the crowd to call Lee’s office and express their disagreement with the legislation, noting the harm that may come with the signing of this bill. Roan urged fans to donate to the Oasis Center, a Tennessee-based organization that supports LGBTQ+ individuals.

Roan ended the night with a cathartic encore. She paused after beginning “California,” briefly overcome by emotion. She then transitioned into the more upbeat “Pink Pony Club,” my favorite of her songs. The audience danced, shouting the lyrics until she stepped off the stage. Roan’s performance, combined with the engaging and creative drag opening, made her concert an unforgettable night.