Kip Moore (and His Fans) Had Too Much Fun at the Ryman Auditorium
Kip Moore lost track of time on Friday night (Feb. 12) at the Ryman Auditorium, and he says it's going to cost him. Those able to experience the show in person may be eager to chip in.
When he returned for an encore to cap his acoustic set, Moore admitted that he'd just asked his tour manager how they were doing on time. For whatever reason, he was limited to 90 minutes, but since he wasn't wearing in-ear monitors to hear stage cues as he normally would, the show had already passed two hours. The 600 or so rowdy fans in front of him would likely have stayed for another two, the fine, it seems, was going to be the same regardless at that point.
Ironically, the crowd had become an unexpected distraction. Fans in masks were scattered about the two-tier former church for the show, but with so few of them allowed in the venue, there was no soft-bodied hum to swallow the occasional screamer. So Moore — and viewers watching at home on the live stream — heard every interruption, especially those that broke the singer's concentration as they rattled off the wooden pews.
The pandemic and a long holiday break had kept Moore off stages for about as long as he could remember, and he admitted to an unusual nervousness when the night began with just him and an acoustic guitar on a wooden stool. Wearing jeans, a black T-shirt and signs of good rest (a ponytail, a deep tan, etc. ...), the "She's Mine" singer quickly rose up to his audience's mid-show level of enthusiasm. By his third song ("Dirt Road") the band had joined him and they were off on a journey across his four albums, played chronologically.
This greatest hits-style setlist created a new experience for those watching. Moore wasn't curating an emotional journey through his music, often responding to the room, as he usually does; instead, he shared personal anecdotes or the mood behind writing songs such as "That Was Us." Of "Last Shot," he recalled how the meaning changed for him as it became a hit, and spent a significant amount of time reflecting on his relationship with his late father.
Even the rowdies in the front few rows stayed quiet as Moore spoke of how much he misses his dad, and how much his father would have enjoyed being on the road with him. Later, he'd pour that into a song called "Payin' Hard" that includes one of the best 21st-century country lyrics: "My life's a credit card / Play now, pay later / And I'm paying hard," he sings.
With the release of the deluxe version of Wild World on the same day as his Ryman show, it was fitting that Moore's most recent album dominated the site. Nine of its 13 original tracks made the list, plus a new one called "How High." Ashley McBryde was a welcome guest for "Janie Blu," which began with Moore sharing how close the two had become in recent years. They're cut from similar cloth, or at least share a sense of humor, and as he did several times on Friday, the 40-year-old singer rocked way back with laughter when she shared the only three things she needed to know to join him: where to park, where to pee and when to sing.
With just a day or two to rehearse and such a long break between shows, there were a few mishaps, and even some rust to shake off, but on an individual level, Moore's band showcased their talents in subtle and spotlight ways. Bassist Manny Medina locked down songs including "Sweet Virginia," while two guitarists brought "Complicated" to a close with as frantic of an acoustic solo break as you'll find on country music stages.
"Magic," an album cut from Wild Ones, closed the show, which was as much of a surprise as "Hey Pretty Girl" not making the set at all.
As so many artists tend to do, Moore created something unique for his opportunity to play the Ryman Auditorium, a cherished venue in Nashville. It's a night that comes with nerves, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, many singers have struggled with a scattered audience that isn't able to provide nourishing energy. At least twice, Moore indicated that was what he prepared for, so when the opposite proved true, it literally cost him.
PICTURES: More From Kip Moore's Ryman Show