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Image: Vasili Papathanasopoulos ©
Multi-platinum singer-songwriter Kip Moore has made his grant return to Australian stages, and it was worth the wait. An energy buzzed throughout the crowd as the crew prepped the stage, leadig towards the audience chanting his name in anticipation. Starting with his most recent single Damn Love, the sold-out crowd burst into song and phones were in the air almost immediately. This continued through Fire and Flame and Bittersweet Company, as yellow and blue lighting filled the stage. Even the venues security guards began bopping their heads along to the tunes as the musician and his band showcased their effortless musical prowess.
From the outset, you could see the palpable connection between Moore and his fans. There was a boost of energy from the crowd through Crazy One More Time that flowed through to one of Moore’s more popular songs, and definitely a crowd favourite, Wild Ones. The musicians growling vocals captivated the audience as they shouted along to each word. Moore then let them take over, and they erupted singing “Everybody’s bumping to the beat just right. We’ll worry ‘bout tomorrow when tomorrow comes…”. Throughout the show, the productions detailed lighting design helped create an atmosphere, and during Wild Ones the crowd were treated to a visual feast as the lights flowed from red and blue into an inverted warm white on the audience, illuminating them as they took the lead.
The ever popular Plead The Fifth had the crowd jumping up and down and dancing with one another. In a live setting, you were really able to take in the skills of drummer Erich Wigdahl, who shone throughout the evening. Throughout the song, Moore spoke of his love for Australia, before singing a final chorus of Plead the Fifth. “I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve done back in America where I tell them about this beautiful place,” he says. There was some audience participation during Beer Money, when Moore had his devoted fans sing the first verse and chorus of the song whilst he had a swig of Jack. He continued showing his love for Aussies by raising the nations flag during the hit song, before Magic slowed things down but did not break the energy of the audience whatsoever.
Throughout his set, Moore created a wonderful balance of well-known and popular songs, whilst also weaving in some deep-cuts. He shared stories with the crowd, speaking of how in early 2020 he was ready to board a plane when he was told the boarders were closing and that he wouldn’t be able to travel to Australia for a planned tour. He reminisced on having opened for CMC back in 2015 and how his merchandise had sold more than other act, thinking about how much he loves coming back, how Australia is such a special country to him and reflected on the kindness shown to him and the band. Moore mentioned that he wants to return next year do an acoustic tour – which was met with a roaring reaction from the crowd. The prospect of an acoustic tour is a welcomed thought for longtime fans, with songs from his accosting album, including Love You To The Moon, Wish It Was Me, Come Home With You and It Ain’t California, favourite tracks amongst his fans
There was a huge energy surge during She’s Mine and Midnight Slow Dance, with the crowd busting out their best moves, whist More Girls Like You took on a stripped back form. The songs arrangement leaned more towards Moore’s acoustic album, Room To Spare: The Acoustic Sessions, but still with just as much punch as the original. The musician put his guitar down for Just Another Girl and we were able to see him take more ownership of the stage, strutting across it and interacting with fans. Moore then treated us to a cover of an Australian classic, The Angels’ Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again. The audience lapped up every second, with more one again enacting a call-and-response with the crowd.
To hear that the next song was Dirt Road was something that would excited many a Kip Moore fans (especially me). Similar to Young Love, it’s one of Moore’s stand-alone singles that serves as an iconic staple in his discography. This version was slowed down and pulled back, which really allowed for Moore’s vocals to shine. The raw quality and timbre present on his recordings transferred into a live context, with the musician luring the audience in with his full and booming performance. His impeccable lyricism comes out in so many of his songs, with many of his fans relating to these moments within Moore’s life in their own way. It creates a strong bond between the superstar and his adoring fanbase.
We then were let in on a little bit of who the musician was when he first started, how events and people in his life have affected him and how he has persevered even when things weren’t going his way. I have to hand it to Moore, his love for his fans and his audience really show throughout his concert, not only through his energy, but also from the curated setlist to overall production. He engaged with his audience in a manner that filled the room with a magnetic energy, but also gave the crowd moments to sing his songs back to him. Moore looked genuinely excited to be there and was prepared to keep the concert going for as long as he possibly could.
He got the audience jumping, screaming and singing along again during The Bull, before a soft blue light with tracking spotlights set the tone for the next song; Running for You, another fan favourite. At song nineteen - Hearts Desire - Moore let the audience know that on average, concerts ran for seventy to ninety minutes, and it was his intention to pass that by a mile. There was a camaraderie amongst the audience, with one of the most entertaining parts of the night were seeing men on the shoulders of other men and unapologetically screaming out the lyrics to Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck.
I have two words for I’m To Blame; bloody brilliant. This song has been described by Moore in the past as autobiographical and further explains that there are a lot of people out there that like to shift the blame onto someone else and not wanting to own up to it. And that that is not him. It’s also about owning up to your mistakes and speak your mind, staying true to yourself and unapologetic. It’s a fun tune that makes you feel like you can be who your are. Moore then went into a few lines of the Daryl Braithwaite’s classic Horses, before flowing into a stripped back version of Last Shot. The audience were swaying throughout the entire song in what became an intimate moment between Moore and his fans.
Moore finished the concert by singing Guitar Man, sharing with the crowd “you know it’s been a good show when I end with this song.” He shares the story of a former flame who didn’t believe he would amount to anything, dedicating the song to her and changing one of the songs lines to, “She’s back in Georgia, I’m in Australia with you.” And aren’t we glad that he is.
Image: Vasili Papathanasopoulos ©