Thursday, February 14, 2019

Kacey Musgraves, Fillmore Philadelphia, 1/18/2019, Philly Brought The Love; Natalie Prass Opened With A Soulful Set; Also Musgraves Struck Gold At The Grammy Awards With 4 Big Wins



Photo Courtesy Of Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves and her band brought her Oh, What a World Tour to the sold-out Fillmore in Philadelphia on Friday night January 18th. The crowd reaction, when Musgraves hit the stage, was enormous. Even though the band was amplified enough to drown out conversations, they showed that they could both wrap the place in sound yet stop on a dime when needed, and give Musgraves the delicate acoustic backing that some songs require. This was evident right from the top as Musgraves had plenty of space to deliver a gorgeous "Slow Burn" to open the show (watch "Slow Burn" below).

Musgraves nicely paced the set using all of the songs from her latest album Golden Hour, arguably her best yet. She opened the show on a high note with three of my favorites from the album. "Wonder Woman" and "Butterflies" nicely followed "Slow Burn".

There were also three tunes from Pageant Material, "High Times", "Die Fun", and after the band intros a heartwarming "Family Is Family". From her major label debut Same Trailer Different Park came the big guns, "Merry Go Round" and "Follow Your Arrow". The crowd gave her treatment of pop star proportions with what sounded like the entire crowd singing along in unison.

Musgraves also pulled out a pair of tunes not found on any of her albums, her cover of Brooks and Dunn's "Neon Moon" and Gloria Gaynor's disco anthem "I Will Survive" on which show opener Natalie Prass joined in on vocals.

Even though the venue seemed large, it is positively intimate compared to the venues that will likely be in Musgraves' future. Consider that the last time Musgraves headlined in Philadelphia she played The Troc, which holds half the capacity of The Fillmore's 2,400. A second leg of Musgraves' Oh, What a World Tour has just been announced and it includes a return trip to Philadelphia to play The Met on September 11th. I'll note here that Philly's newest venue holds 3,500 and is very nearly sold out already. She has also done stadium tours as an opening act.

Musgraves had fun interacting with the Fillmore crowd. There was what she called The Rainbow Brigade, a group of fans right next to the stage wearing enormous cowboy hats, lots of rainbows, and even a girl in a Texas flag. During the show, a couple got engaged when the guy publicly proposed. All that and Kacey politely declined the joint that she was offered.

The crowd sang along with Musgraves throughout the show and not just on the hits. Her fans clearly enjoyed every minute of the twenty song set.

Grammy Update: Shortly before this article was published, Kacey Musgraves won Grammys for Golden Hour, winning in all four categories in which she was nominated, including the big one, Album of the Year.

Watch "Slow Burn"


Setlist: Click on linked titles to watch.
01. Slow Burn
02. Wonder Woman
03. Butterflies
04. Lonely Weekend
05. Happy & Sad
06. Merry Go Round
07. Western Jam/High Time
08. Golden Hour
09. Die Fun
10. Mother
11. Oh What A World
12. Family Is Family
13. Love Is A Wild Thing
14. Velvet Elvis
15. Space Cowboy
16. I Will Survive (feat Natalie Prass)
17. Follow Your Arrow
18. Rainbow
19. Neon Moon (Brooks and Dunn Cover)
20. High Horse

The Road Band:
Kyle Ryan Hurlbut - Banjo, Backing Vocals, Bandleader
Brett Resnick - Pedal Steel Guitar
Scott Quintana - Drums, Percussion
Adam Keafer - Bass
Kai Welch - Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Nathaniel Smith - Cello


Photo: C. Orth

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Photo Courtesy Of Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass opened the show with a tight eight song set. It's Saturday night and the crowd is ready to party with Spacey Kacey, as Musgraves sometimes refers to herself. On some level, it must be daunting to open to a sold out house like this. From the stage, I would imagine that the conversation noise coming from the crowd must be unnerving. Just getting them to quiet down and listen might appear to be an impossible task. The amplification in these venues helps. I'm not talking about bludgeoning the audience with sound like Billy Joel at Citizens Bank Park. When the sound is loud but nuanced (as it is at The Fillmore), the punters in the next section who won't shut up are not quite so bothersome.

Prass drew half her set from her latest release, The Future and the Past, her sophomore album. Three selections came from her self titled debut and one number, her last, was "Jass", a tune she has been performing since 2015 but has yet to appear on an album.

She livened up the crowd with a number of mentions of Musgraves and her band, living in Nashville for nine years, plus the tidbit that she is engaged to her drummer Eric Slick. Her four piece band was well equipped to play her mix of rock and soul music. It included Alan Parker on guitar, Jacob Ungerleider on keyboards, and Brandon Lane on bass. By the time she finished her set, the Fillmore crowd had been properly introduced to Natalie Prass and they were quite ready for Musgraves.

Watch "Jass"


Setlist: Click on linked titles to watch.
01. Oh My
02. The Fire
03. Sisters
04. Bird of Prey
05. Your Fool
06. Why Don't You Believe in Me
07. Short Court Style
08. Jass

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