April 24, 2024

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Lee Brice keeps it simple for an evening of country music in West Virginia

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By Dave Parsons

 

For decades, the stage of the Capitol Theater in Wheeling, West Virginia was home to the biggest acts in country music every Saturday night.  When you add that this theater has hosted every genre of concerts, Broadway shows and the local symphony, it is a venue that seems like home.

The sold-out crowd filing in on Saturday, February 17, 2024, for the Lee Brice “Me and My Guitar” tour date, were greeted by a very minimal stage setup.  A few microphones stands and a piano on the riser to the left of the stage.  The center mic stand had two banks of guitars at the ready.  A music video showing photos of Brice in concert played to the tour’s title song.  About ½ way through the video, Brice walked out playing along with the video on his guitar.  A minute or so later, the video faded away and Brice finished the song solo.

Brice took a seat at center stage and told the audience how much he has wanted to do a solo tour for years, while riffing chords on the guitar.  While talking about the songs that inspired him when he was young, Brice played the haunting solo of The Eagles’ “Hotel California”.  The audience sang the song along with him, and as he commented later, it was like being in his living room.

There were a few other trips to his roots.  Moving to the piano, his church upbringing stories precluded a Sunday morning performance of “Oh How I Love Jesus.”  In homage to country classics, a heart felt version of “ Old Violin”, the classic by Johnny Paycheck, the song he wrote for Garth Brooks, “More Than A Memory” and the Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl” were delivered with the respect and love they deserved. 

As the show passed an hour, the audience were treated to some of Brice’s country radio hits including “Drinking Class” and “Parking Lot Party.”   At this point the show was 1 hour and 15 minutes long, so there was a bit of surprise and rumbling when Lee Brice promised he was coming back after a brief intermission.

15 minute later, he retuned to the stage, kicking off the way he did the first set with the classic “Wonderful Tonight” and then two of his hits, in “I Don’t Dance” and “Boy.”  In introducing the latter, Brice shared stories about his son.  After the song, he told a story of his daughter wanting to record “This Little Guitar” late at night.  The follow up performance of the song featured his daughter singing on video, while Brice played the little guitar live.

The opening act, Blessing Offor, joined Brice for a duet of “Hey World”, which lead into a string of Brice’s hit singles.  After the last one, and everyone thinking the show was over as it was reaching the 3 hour mark, Lee Brice treated the Wheeling audience to a new song called “When The Kingdom Comes”.  The fact that he chose a spiritual song, let alone a song he just wrote, after 4 of his hits in a row, let’s you know just how much he had the audience in the palm of his hand.

The applause lead into a reprise of “You, Me and My Guitar”, with the music video from the opening, taking over where it had bailed earlier and Brice taking his bows.  It was literally a full circle moment for an artist who had offered the audience a glimpse into his life, in a setting that was as intimate in the first row or the last row.  I think we may see more artists attempt this kind of show in the future as it plays so well to a theater audience than it does an outdoor show, and the fans get a to know the artist a little better as a singer and a person.

New artist Blessing Offor opened the show on February 17 with an 8 song set kicked off by the Tracy Lawerence classic “Paint Me A Birmingham” and followed by the Garth Brooks anthem “Friends In Low Places” he grabbed the audiences attention and held it through the next 6 songs, most of which the audience had probably never heard before.  This guy is one to watch in the future.

Blessing Offor Setlist

1  Paint Me A Birmingham 

2 Friends In Low Places 

3 Let Them Dance

4  Look At Love

5 To Make You Feel My Love

6 Waitin On The Sun

7 Don”t We All

8  Brighter Days

 

Lee Brice Show Setlist:

Acoustic Solo

1 Hotel California

2 Picture Of Me

3 Oh, How I Love Jesus

4 Soul

5 Old Violin

6 More Than A Memory

7 Crazy Girl

8 Drinking Class

9 Parking Lot Party

Second Set

1 Wonderful Tonight

2 I Don’t Dance

3 Boy

4 This Little Guitar

5 Hey World (with Blessing Offor)

6 Rumor

7 One Of Them Girls

8 I Drive Your Truck

9 Hard To Love

10 When The Kingdom Comes

11 You, Me and My Guitar

 

Photo Gallery : Lee Brice – Capitol Theater (02.17.2024)

 

Photo Gallery : Blessing Offor – Capitol Theater (02.17.2024)

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