Concert Reviews

Hunter Hayes Rocks The Agora Theater Stage

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As a perfect kick-off to the 2019 summer concert season, country music heartthrob Hunter Hayes brought his Cajun infused brand of country music to a highly enthusiastic and appreciative crowd at The Agora Theater in Cleveland. The platinum selling Louisiana native, who first rose to prominence in 2011 with the release of his self-titled debut album, was definitely at the top of his game last Thursday night (5/30).

Hayes’ Closer To You Tour was undertaken with the intent of helping to promote an upcoming new album, his first since 2015’s The 21 Project. In a bold move, Hunter began his set with a series of new songs destined to be on the album. Despite their unfamiliarity, they were wildly cheered by concert-goers, which brought a smile to his face. When the last of the new music was finished, he politely thanked the audience for listening, acknowledged their warm reaction and in a matter-of-fact way announced that a new album is in the works. As he turned to walk back to toward the band, he said “now it’s time to play the old shit,” and the crowd went absolutely nuts!

Hayes’ song selection was masterful. He commented offhandedly that their (the band’s) catalog has grown to the point where narrowing down a set list can be challenging. But Hunter and his incredible back up musicians hit all the right notes without missing a beat. While every song was a highlight in its own right, for me, the real showstopper was when he sat solo at the piano and performed Invisible. The feeling that he put into that number sent chills down the backs of everyone in the room.

The rest of the show left everyone feeling good and satisfied. His new single Heartbreak had the whole house up and moving. And songs like “Storm Warning,” “Wanted,” “Rainy Season,” “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” “Faith To Fall Back On,” “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me,” “Light Me Up,” “I Want Crazy” and many more lit up faces with ear to ear smiles, had toes tapping, voices singing and feet dancing. It was quite the performance by an accomplished entertainer, and in this writer’s opinion, was indeed the perfect beginning to a summer of great country music here on the North Coast.

Finally, we’d be remiss if we failed to give credit to Hunter Hayes for his attention to detail in providing fans with a most excellent total concert experience by bringing upstart singer/songwriter Levi Hummon to open the show. In his first ever Cleveland appearance, Hummon did more than just fill in the obligatory forty minute opening set. He developed a real rapport with the audience and undoubtedly left with more than a few new fans. Songs like Stupid, Patient and his recently released Night Lights all resonated with the crowd. See the Levi Hummon interview in Cleveland Country Magazine (5/28/19) to learn more about this rising star.

Hunter Hayes w/Levi Hummon at The Agora in Cleveland (5.30.19) – Photos by Gerard Hilinski

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