Who: Country 92.5 House Party – Sam Hunt with Kip Moore and Conner Smith
Where: Xfinity Theatre, Hartford, Connecticut
When: June 29, 2018
Almost exactly a year ago, I bought myself a VIP ticket to see Sam Hunt at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut. The ticket bought access to an exclusive pre-show acoustic performance by Hunt and his band, as well as a killer seat right in the middle of the second row. I had so much fun at that performance that when I saw Hunt was coming back to the same venue for the Country 92.5 House Party, I knew it would be an experience that should not be missed.
The day of the show marked the beginning of a heat wave in the Northeast, so the night had a miserable start. Newcomer Conner Smith was tasked with energizing the crowd that had arrived early. Smith is a very young performer and it showed. However, instead of cowing and being intimidated by the large amphitheater spread out in front of him, he took the challenge head-on and was animated from the beginning. He started off a bit stiffer, but really managed to loosen up as he got further through his set. Smith had the advantage of having a strong band behind him and they all did a great job opening. He has a lot of potential to be the next big country star and I will not be surprised if I see him headlining the Xfinity Theatre in a few years.
Kip Moore was next to hit the stage. Having been a fan of Moore’s for years, I was really excited to finally have an opportunity to see him live. The set started with “Sunburn,” off of his most recent album Slowheart. Moore is very obviously an experienced performer; he knew exactly how to build up the audience’s energy without overdoing it and kept them interested in the set for its duration. Equally as impressive were his band members, who were just as talented and professional as Moore. “Beer Money,” “Wild Ones,” and “Somethin’ Bout A Truck” all went over well with the audience, who were screaming every word to every song. Moore was my favorite of the night. He is really underrated as a musician, in my opinion; his songwriting skills are top-notch, and his live show was impeccable. I would absolutely see Kip Moore next time he is in the area and I highly recommend that you see him live as soon as you can.
Having seen Sam Hunt at the same venue last year, I knew that I should expect a high-energy performance and was not disappointed. Hunt started his set with his latest single, “Downtown’s Dead.” “Ex To See,” “Take Your Time,” and “Break Up In A Small Town” were also included in the setlist, much to the enthusiasm of the excited audience. Hunt constantly moved from one side of the stage to the other, locking hands with the fans who were lucky enough to be right up on the barricade. The show went much the way I remember it going last year: hit after hit was performed and it was a great way to spend a Friday night. Unfortunately, it had been a long and hot day, so I was not able to stay for the entirety of his set, but I left with a really positive impression of the show. Seeing as how I have seen Hunt perform at the same venue around the end of June twice in two years, it almost looks as if this is turning into a tradition, one which I will be very happy if it continues.
The Country 92.5 House Party was a really fun show where I got to see some of my favorite performers and discover a great up and comer. Hunt and Moore have different tactics when it comes to tackling their performance. While I prefer Moore’s sound, both Hunt and Moore put on memorable shows and are both highly recommended live performers.
Post and photos by Karen Shalev
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