Kacey Musgraves Is Simply Sublime During Ryman Auditorium Concert
It's unfair to attribute the poise and subtle confidence Kacey Musgraves exhibited during Thursday night's Ryman Auditorium concert to her Grammy wins, or even her critically-acclaimed Golden Hour album. To do so would be to discount four years of hard work and attention to detail.
To do so would overlook her evolution as an entertainer, the peace and comfort that she exudes with every warm smile and — perhaps most importantly — her talented and very committed band, the Crispy Boys. Eight rapscallion players in powder blue flanked her from the shadows, on time with every cue, vibing with every emotion and focused on every joke, aside or show of gratitude from the 30-year-old Texan. Musgraves fills the stage in 2019, something she struggled with in 2015, the last time she played a non-Christmas set at the Ryman. The crowd responded with more spontaneous eruptions and cheers (or held their collective breath during delicate, generous offerings like "Rainbow").
"Rainbow" is the new radio single and was her next-to-last song of the night, but to appreciate what every night of the Oh What a World Tour represents, you need to start at the beginning, perhaps with the talented and charming opening act Sinclair, a woman who weaves her journey of coming out as gay in a very strict, religious family into her pop songs. Of course this crowd stood to support her — clearly "woke country" has arrived when an audience offers universal love to a gay woman at a country music concert in a Southern church. Her set was a delight.
Musgraves appeared backlit like an angel to sing "Slow Burn" and eased down from the riser wearing a skin-tight, ice cream shop-inspired, full-length romper. Standing nearly 9-feet-tall (okay, or so it seemed), she gracefully moved through "Wonder Woman," "Butterflies" and "Lonely Weekend." The Golden Hour album was her focus — in fact, she played every track from the 2018-release during a 19-song set that also featured a surprise collaboration with CeeLo Green to sing Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."
Midway through the 90-minute set, her band came to the front of the stage for a three or four song acoustic interlude that lasted much longer because Musgraves took time to introduce them individually, share a few stories from the road and admit, "These past few weeks have been utter f---ing insane." This is the only time she'd allude to her Grammy wins. Something small, but telling happened as she started this portion of the show. The group didn't as much surround her as form a half-moon for her to step into. It was a subtle entrance, but a fine bit of showmanship that re-engaged her audience. Is it any wonder that a lengthy standing ovation followed the song ("Oh, What a World") that she'd perform next?
By now, fans of Musgraves and country music know what to expect from her concerts, and she stays on brand by avoiding extended jams, meaningless cover songs, pre-programmed dialogue and (on this night) a long break before her encore. The Oh, What a World Tour is more of an evening with Kacey Musgraves than a concert by today's definition, and she owns that. The result is a deeply satisfying night of music and contemplation.
Kacey Musgraves Talks About What Made Golden Hour Different
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