My first concert of 2022 was from an artist I have been following for over 20 years and for some reason have never taken time out of my day to catch him live. Well that is no longer happening. I am trying to see as many artist as I can that I haven’t seen before (of course time and money permitting). First up was the very talented, singer-songwriter rock & roll star Will Hoge. His latest album, Tiny Little Movies, came out in 2020 and as luck would have it, so did Covid and all touring. He is finally touring the album (which is amazing btw). And I am not missing it this time around.
The show was at the Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina and in my 8 years in Charlotte I have never seen a show at this place and is a crying shame as it is a great place. It holds just under 1,000 people and there is a balcony where you can actually sit as the rest is standing room only. Which really wasn’t an issue as for some strange reason Charlotte didn’t show up as there were less than 200 but Will still performed as if it was 20,000 as he is the consummate professional.
I bought front row tickets! Well, front row balcony because I wanted to sit down. A note on the ledge in front of us said “No Drinks”. I wonder why? So l looked over and okay…I see why now..
The opening act came on promptly at 8 and her name was Liz Longley who currently resides in Nashville (and so does Will). She is a singer-songwriter as well and got up there with just her and her guitar. And what a voice she has. It was magnificent. She had great stage presence and her banter with the crowd was engaging. I didn’t know any of the songs but if they came on the radio, I would not turn the channel. I’ll have to dig in to her a little more. Check her out if you get the chance.
Will came on shortly after Liz left the stage and his band didn’t waste any time cranking out the jams. First up was “That’s How You Lose Her” off the new album and it was great to finally hear that one live. Then came “Better Off Now” off my favorite album ‘Blackbird on a Lonely Wire’. When Will got to the harmonica solo, he suddenly just stopped. He went in to tell this long, drawn out hilarious story that basically lead up to the reason he stopped was that the harmonica was in the holder upside down. I am sure no one would’ve noticed, but it was a great, hilarious event that makes live shows so special. He wanted to blame the tour manager and the road crew, but he and the board were the tour manager and the road crew. Too funny.
He went through song after song and they rocked out, they were laid back and they were all played by stellar musicians. He did introduce the band and let me tell you, the bass player reminded me of Jack Black…but it wasn’t him…at least I don’t think it was. After the band intros he played my favorite song off the new album, “Even the River Runs Out of This Town”. That made my night…up to that point anyway. Then the band left and it was just Will and his guitar. He played his brand new song that came out on Friday, March 25, just two days prior to the show. The song is called “Whose God Is This?” which started out being inspired by a friend that passed away last year and turned in to a song that completely bashed some guy that thinks he’s a God, wears a Red Hat and is worshipped by a scary number of people in the U.S….hmmm…who could he be talking about. Let me tell you it was a highlight of the evening especially his crowd banter after the song. Hilarious and he can tell a story.
After that as he played the next song, the band came back out. They then dedicated the next song to the passing of Taylor Hawkins which happened a couple days earlier. The song was called “Even if It Breaks Your Heart” and it was very touching. They played a couple more songs and then that was it. Well, except for the encore. I expected them to come back to play two as that was what the show set list showed from 3 nights earlier. We got lucky and got 3 more tracks. They played “My Worst”, “Secondhand Heart” and “All The Pretty Horses” and it was a great set of songs to close a wonderful night…that was about to get even better. What is great about Will and his band is that the setlist from night to night is not going to be the same. The one from 3 days had similar songs, but we got stuff they didn’t (they didn’t get the new song) and the order was mixed up. I like it when bands can mix it up based on the whim of the day. Great stuff.
- That’s How You Lose Her
- Better Off Now
- I’m A Southern Man
- Is This All You Wanted Me For
- Daddy Was A Gambling Man
- Cold Night in Santa Fe
- Maybe This is Ok
- The Curse
- Rock and Roll Star
- Even the River Runs Out of This Town
- Whose God Is This?
- When I Get My Wings
- Even If It Breaks Your Heart
- Favorite Waste of Time
- Long Gone
- My Worst (Encore)
- Secondhand Heart (Encore)
- All the Pretty Horses (Encore)
After the show ended, we came down from the balcony and I saw Will’s guitar still on the stage and I wanted a picture of it for the post and so we headed down and snapped some pictures. Not sure why I wanted it, but I did…
See the piece of paper to the left? As we were standing there, Will actually came back up on stage and my wife asked if we could have the piece of paper since it was the Setlist. Will gladly picked it up, walked off the stage and came over to us and gave it to my wife. He thanked us for coming and we complimented him on the show as well as thanked him for the setlist.
Now, I think there are two songs on here he didn’t play which were Goodnight/Goodbye and Goddam California both great songs. He might’ve played a tiny bit of them but not enough that I wrote it down. Also, not sure what the notes are to the right…but so cool to have this in the memorabilia collection. And if that wasn’t enough, we noticed Will was heading over to the merch table to help sell his stuff. I walked over and figured, if he’s signing, I’m buying. Oh, I forgot to mention, I already bought a shirt prior to the show as I never expected him to come out and do this afterwards.
You can barely see me on the right holding the vinyl, but that is Will on the left. I love how my wife basically cut me out of the shot!! (love you honey!!). The lovely young lady in the back is the opening act, Liz Longley. And after the guy next to me stopped pointing his finger at Will rudely (he wasn’t being rude they were laughing and joking), it was my turn and Will graciously signed the album. This is going on the wall of autographs!!!
And to finish up, here is the T-Shirt. It is a pretty plain shirt, but I don’t need anything flashy. THis works fine for me. I am a simple man.
And that is all I have on the show. I am so glad to finally check off seeing Will Hoge Live as he is one I have been wanting to see for 20 years. So worth the wait! Thanks for stopping by.