Yesterday I wrote at length about my experience taking part in the Darius Rucker music video for “Homegrown Honey.” While those couple hours of filming definitely made my Saturday there was still one more thrill to experience …the actual concert! In case you want them, here are my thoughts on the show:
Because I was working the concert I had a credential to get me around the intimate HTC Center. However, from a social media perspective I didn’t want to be in a box, on top of the bleachers, or with the traditional media. Rather, I wanted to be right in the middle of the action. I converged onto the floor section early on in the opening act’s set and took up shop very close to the stage.
By the time Darius came on I had situated myself probably 10 feet from the stage. His entrance paralleled the rest of his show: Nothing too flashy, nothing too gimmicky. Some doors at the back of his stage opened up and he came through. There was a medium sized video screen in the middle back of the stage with two smaller screens on either side of the main one. The lighting was adequate but nothing special. The guy on the piano and the drummer were situated on elevated pedestals at the back of the stage while Darius and everyone else performed on ground level at the front. Darius’ stage was on par with a stage you would see for an opening act on a major tour with a big headliner.
He came out and opened with “Radio” and everything from there flowed smoothly. Other early notable songs in his set were “Alright” and “This.” It didn’t take me long to realize that Darius Rucker wasn’t the type of artist that was going to try to blow the roof off of the place or try desperately hard to win fans over. He was there to simply be himself and sing his songs. He didn’t kneel down on the ground and bow to the over 3,300 people in attendance. He didn’t come up with any corny stories on what he did during his day in the area. He didn’t suck up to the crowd and say how much he loved them or how much he loved Myrtle Beach. Instead he was totally genuine about the things he loved and didn’t hide away from sharing them…his kids, football, and the University of South Carolina.
As the middle of his set started he performed some of his new songs and some of his popular songs. Prefacing his performance of “Homegrown Honey” by saying the footage would be used in the actual music video of the song, the crowd seemed to really respond. They responded again when about 30 minutes later Darius told the crowd that he would have to perform “Homegrown Honey” again to secure additional footage for the video. In between he sang my favorite melody, “Come Back Song,” while also singing the Hootie smash hit “Only Wanna Be With You.”
You wouldn’t find Darius sprinting from one end of the stage to the other or rocking out hardcore on Saturday night. That just isn’t his style. While he did do a nice job of working the whole stage he was never in a hurry. He swung his hips, danced in his own space, and used his hands a lot while singing. It was enough to get a healthy sweat going but keep in mind it was a country star in his forties performing…not Macklemore.
As the show started to wind down he brought his opening act, Ricky Young, up on stage for a duet. He also performed “True Believers.” Then for his two song encore he sang “Wagon Wheel” followed by “Purple Rain.” The stage looked the coolest during that final song, even though I wish he would have ended with a more upbeat selection.
I watched that whole show by myself, without any beer…and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t need the pyrotechnics, the confetti, the social media interactions, the catwalk stage, the dazzling light show, or the numerous other spectacles you see on big time tours. I just needed Darius and his guitar. I found the simple and straight-forward show extremely refreshing and thought it was a great reflection of Rucker’s talent. While he isn’t the best performer in the world he is definitely worth a Saturday night in a cozy setting. I will remember my first southern concert very fondly. Don’t Blink.