I showed up for Chris Young’s “Losing Sleep World Tour” less than ecstatic to photograph yet another country concert from the sound boards but much to my surprise the Tacoma Dome was set up for a more intimate show. The Dome seating was shrunken down to half of its normal size, with a crowd of approximately 8,000 — mostly women of all ages, some with men as accessories.
Australian transplant Morgan Evans was an astounding opener, capturing the crowd’s attention playing solo in front of a tarped background. Next up was the up-and-coming national favorite Kane Brown, who brings deep vocals and good looks to a bright stage. Brown performed hits like “Used to Love You Sober,” “What Ifs” and “Heaven.”
The main event was multi award-winning, newest member of the Grand Ole Opry Chris Young who came on stage in a tattered jean jacket armed with his bright smile, country charm and Elvis-like swagger. A full light show and tight six-piece band drove it home with Young on vocals. Usually a guitar band is reserved as a description for a rock band, but with two electric guitars, an acoustic and a steel guitar player in the flanks, it made for a rocking country night. Young’s catchy melodies and enticing, somewhat hypnotic, vocals would draw anyone in. Young stated that one of the first concerts that he ever beheld was Vince Gill. “I wanted to do that,” said Young, “but I would never be able to play guitar like him.” Nevertheless, Young called Gill and was surprised that he was not hung up on. The two ended up collaborating on “Sober Saturday Night,” which he performed after telling the story. During the course of the show, Young took time to speak of his humble beginnings doing a Borders Books tour, playing a Mexican restaurant for four hours once a week for Mexican food and getting paid $500 to open for an Elvis impersonator at a funeral convention. He also stopped the show and turned the cameras on the crowd, saying, “Where are my drunk people?” One of the highlights of the evening was a duet performance of “Think of You” with Young and Grammy Award-nominated artist Cassadee Pope, who was piped in on the projection screen. “Save Water Drink Beer” was opened with Jimi Hendrix-style guitar riffs and went into a great rocking version of the song with the crowd cheering along.
All told, the “Losing Sleep” concert made for a fun night and great show. For a slide show of photos, visit www.tacomaweekly.com.