A concert isn’t just about the performance. It’s about the people you meet, the people who put the show together and the people that make it happen. Already in comparison to The Borderline performance on Friday, March 21st, Hunter topped that by a long mile. If London was anything to go by, then this was the night he soared.
Before the show on Monday 25th, he took the time out to meet some dedicated fans who had waited since 9:00 am that morning, just to catch a glimpse of him. They waited for their moment, and their moment came. At first a silver vehicle pulled up, there was no sign of Hunter. Tensions rose, excitement levels reached beyond fandom. At last, the Black box on wheels pulled up, out stepped Mr Hayes. He did an informal meet and greet, he signed posters & helped a poor guy out with his none-responsive camera.
When Hunter stepped out onto the stage later that evening, the amount of screams heard was unprecedented. It was tenfold the volume of the people signing along to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” prior. The man himself opened up with “Tattoo” which saw a unique twist hit the audience. The addition of the electrical piano made for something fresh which in turn added to the quality of the delivery. This was shortly followed by a new release entitled “21”, which in no doubt will make for a great summer anthem alongside such likes as Keith Urban’s’ “Long Hot Summer”.
It was a surprise to see such a reformed set list. Although each song had been taken from “Encore” & “Storyline” each one was changed, not so that they were harmed but so that they accompanied Hunter’s wide array of talents. He knows his way around a guitar, but he’s also quite the pianist. This was made apparent when he took to the keys to play “Invisible” & “Wanted” which in any fashion will always touch people’s hearts, offering both comfort and inspiration to those who are going through periods of difficulty. He opened up giving the audience an insight into the world through his eyes with the challenges he faces and what the songs mean to him.
The set list again was ultimately diverse. No song was the same; each one had their elements that made for a pleasant ear quenching listen. “Wanted” had its key-jamming richness whereas “Storm Warning” had it’s sharp vocals. It was a pleasure to see more diversity this time around as It wasn’t just in the vocal department where the performance really did excel. The musical talent of each and every band member was really quite something. Their skills were made evident when they took to the stage individually to jam their instruments. You’d think that a mandolin couldn’t be rocked out too, but they certainly did prove us wrong.
What made the night something that’ll always stay with me, was the complete transformation of Mr Hayes. He performed well above the standard of what was seen at The Borderline. It wasn’t just a sing along with meaningless audience interaction. You could tell by the endless smiles on Hunter throughout that he was feeling the crowds energy to the extent that, he is bringing his American prowess right here to the stages of Britain.
Another element that cannot be shied away from was the much improved Coffee House Experience. At The Borderline, it wasn’t done this intimately. At the Borderline’s CHE Hunter stood in front of the attendees, answered a few questions and then did the photo opp with a brief moment of signings. However, this time, around, it was truly something different. He sat down with each individual table, conversed with the fans, did signings and then underwent the photo ops. To say that the Borderline’s experience was bad is an understatement, but seeing this made it undeniably worth the ticket price.
Hunter, this time, was in his prime. His energy levels on the stage brought to an incredible evening, full of music, music, and more musical brilliance. When I asked Hunter about how he thought the tour had been compared to The Borderline, he simply said in a jokingly way “This may sound Cheesy…” as he wrote down the word “Brilliant”. The Borderline was good, but this was the time that he truly soared.
Please Note: The featured images copyright belongs to: (ABC/Image Group LA)