Aussie country star Morgan Evans rocked Auckland’s Powerstation last night keeping his fans singing along and drinking along.
It wasn’t the first time Evan performed in Auckland. We caught him last October at Spark Arena when he opened for Brad Paisley. After the response he and fellow-opener Kaylee Bell got, it was just a matter of time before he returned with his own show.
Opening tonight was another Aussie up-and-comer, James Johnston, making his “international” debut.. A veteran of TV shows like Australian Idol and The X Factor, Johnston will finally release his debut album on September 29th. Judging by his solo set tonight, the 32-year-old deserves a shot at stardom. He’s been hustling for years and the result is a stage presence that immediately clicks with the audience, whether they know him or not.
He opened his set with Raised Like That and had the Powerstation singing along with him within seconds. Songs like Raised Like That, Got It Good and Grew Up On celebrate the simple life of growing up in a small town. In fact, he has a song called Small Town, with apologies to John Mellencamp.
We’ll see if James eventually returns for his own headlining Powerstation show anytime soon.
“Take your shirt off!” A voice yells out from the floor of the Powerstation as Morgan Evans finishes his set. “That was a man’s voice!” notes Morgan, who keeps his shirt on and his dignity in tact throughout his 90-minute set.
Sure, he’s something of a pretty boy, but he proved tonight that he has talent both as a songwriter and a performer along with those good looks.
And a pretty hot band.
The three musicians, Gideon Boley (guitar), Andrew Brown (bass) and Peter Wilson (drums) all hail from The States and it sounds like they grew up on classic US rock and country.
The band took the stage at 9:42 pm as the light went down and Garth Brooks sang Friends In Low Places over the PA.
Morgan and co. kick things off with Young Again and again, the crowd sings along almost immediately.
One thing I’ll say about this current crop of country shows that have made their way here, they do promote a sense of unity and community.
Morgan engages with the crowd and the band rocks on. In fact, for a moment I thought the first few moments of Love Is Real sounded like Heart’s Magic Man and when the band stretched out before Hey Little Mama I’m sure they were channeling their inner Led Zeppelin.
This fusion of classic rock and country makes perfect sense and it looks like Morgan and his audience were brought up on a healthy dose of each.
Things quieted down for the solo acoustic set and new song, What Does That Say About You, went over very well. Then Gideon took up his Resonator guitar, squeezed out some bluesy riffs and with All Right Here we were back in that classic small town…be it in Australia, The States or New Zealand…the feeling is universal.
Things That We Drink To was the emotional highpoint of the night and Sing Along Drink Along, Hey Little Mama and Day Drunk got the party rocking.
These country shows keep getting better and better and, as Morgan proved, you can keep your shirt on and still give the people what they want.
Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk
Morgan Evans Setlist:
- Young Again
- Country Outta My Girl
- Kiss Somebody
- I Do
- Love Is Real
- Over For You
- What Does That Say About You
- All Right Here
- Things That We Drink To
- Sing Along Drink Along
- Hey Little Mama
- Day Drunk
- On My Own Again