Music & Nightlife

Review: Kacey Musgraves brings high energy tour to Charlotte

Kacey Musgraves performed many of her hits at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre Thursday.
Kacey Musgraves performed many of her hits at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre Thursday.

Twinkling stars punctured the skies over Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre Thursday night, buzzing like the crowd below with love and anticipation for psychedelic folk act Weyes Blood and six-time Grammy award winner Kacey Musgraves.

Weyes Blood entranced the crowd with her ethereal, shining Karen Carpenter vocals and watery, celestial sounds.

Lights illuminated her all-white suit in a liquid filter, mimicking the underwater themes of her 2019 album release, Titanic Rising. With vapory smoke dancing beside her and her band, Weyes Blood gave a shout-out to “the boomers” and submerged herself into Procol Harum’s 1967 hit, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” before channeling an Eagles-worthy solo for Titanic Rising single, “Andromeda” and ending her performance with the cinematic “Movies.”

Before leaving the stage, Weyes Blood offered a word of warning about how emotional our headliner would make us; “Get ready to cry.”

The house music in between acts was hip, and tailored less to more traditional country and more towards electronic and current psych-rock acts like Tame Impala, Arctic Monkeys, and Daft Punk. This should come as no surprise to fans of Kacey Musgraves’ expansive 2018 release, Golden Hour which has songs that were heavily influenced by Daft Punk’s vocal electronic effects and Tame Impala’s billowing guitars.

Laser lights beamed a rainbow with holographic clouds across the thousands in attendance and the digitized intro of “Oh What A World” gave way to a backlit silhouette of Musgraves standing center stage with an acoustic guitar, strumming the soft, immediately poignant “Slow Burn” the opening track off Golden Hour.

Musgraves traded in the acoustic guitar for “Wonder Woman” and took time to say a proper Southern hello and welcome the fans to the “Oh What A World Tour.”

There were a couple technical sound issues but instead of getting flustered, Musgraves encouraged the audience to greet their neighbors by high-fiving the person on each side of you, then raising middle fingers to heartily “scream ‘f--- it’ to anything that’s annoying you because whatever’s annoying you ain’t here now.”

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Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre Benjamin Robson

Heartbreakingly hopeful

The band low-stepped into “Butterflies,” a charming love ballad that featured acidic psychedelic butterflies and floral patterns waltzing on the massive backdrop. “Lonely Weekend” boasted a 1970s gameshow-style lettering of “LONELY” encompassing Musgraves and her band as frosted circle lights descended to varying heights to the crowd’s utmost amusement.

A laser light image of Musgraves’ signature neon smiley face with a single tear was projected for “Happy & Sad” before launching into one of her older tracks, “Merry Go ‘Round” off Same Trailer Different Park.

The selection was a crowd favorite and the engaged concertgoers crooned nearly every word throughout the show. A brief exotica intermission gave way to the Tarantino-esque “High Time” which employed sparse spaghetti western whistles.

Musgraves again stood backlit in the center of the stage for the syrupy vocal intro into “Golden Hour” and shed her rhinestoned golden jacket to reveal a circa 1978 skintight black bodysuit as a funky jam band break fades the track out. Lights in the venue lowered to create a formless vacancy, filled by two spotlights shimmering down upon a solo Musgraves and her black guitar as she plucks the heartwrenching “Mothers.”

The outro is extended by a bluegrass string arrangement that streams naturally into “Oh What A World.” The band surrounded Musgraves in a traditional assembly reminiscent of Grand Ole Opry group stylings with Musgraves, who sported a long brunette weave and looked like Morticia Addams had infiltrated the iconic setting, addressed the crowd again remarking on the beautiful weather, her day off fun at Charlotte hotspot Soul Gastrolounge and the connecting vibes shared throughout the amphitheatre.

Musgraves wove together the opening folksy strums of “Love Is A Wild Thing” by telling Charlotte that she used to feel unworthy of love, “I felt I didn’t deserve much but I learned that love can grow out of even this barren wasteland... Just kiddin’ sorry, that’s really dark.”

The band used the quiet introduction of the song to quickly reassemble behind their more electronic instruments and Musgraves cried out the song’s bridge.

The energy stayed high the remainder of the set with Musgraves launching into “Velvet Elvis” and a spectacular synth-laden cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” followed by the stellar, swelling “Space Cowboy.”

Over the applause, Musgraves shouted, “My label said this song would tank!” as she guns into her 2013 hit “Follow Your Arrow”, a buoyant pro-LGBTQ song about disrupting the status quo, kissing whoever you want and following your heart down its own wandering, nonlinear path.

The audience and Musgraves share a singalong during the sweetly simple “Rainbow” and technicolor lasers formed as the band joined back in to cover Brooks & Dunn’s 1991 heartbroken song, “Neon Moon” which Musgraves released a dancey remix of earlier this year. Musgraves explained this would be their last song as the funky bass line to her stylish song, “High Horse” queued up.

Lisa Frank-worthy animated horses galloped on the backdrop and Musgraves swung bras that were thrown onto the stage high above her head, lassoing each one before chucking them back into the crowd.

Musgraves was heartbreakingly hopeful and her set shone with the specifically human duality of desire and despair. Opening act Weyes Blood had warned us all accordingly as there was hardly a dry eye during the country star’s brilliant set.