Wednesday I broke my no week nights show pact again to see Hunter Hayes at the Ridgefield Playhouse and I went VIP.
At 430 we were let in for VIP and were asked no photos/videos to stay in the moment and keep it intimate. Immediately I was annoyed I couldn’t get a photo of his awesome orange shoes! (Fortunately he ended up still having them on and they’re in my M&G photo lol it’s the little things)
Everyone was being a bit shy when he asked for questions so I asked my go to, “what song by another artists do you wish you wrote” which seemed to impress the crowd as a question and he said there really isn’t any because other artists don’t write about his life like he does so he couldn’t choose BUT he would be curious in knowing how/why some song writers got to the point of wanting to write those songs and that he was being very political in not choosing one – but he approved this message. He answered several other questions (or did he? He joked he was kind of not really answering anything and just talking) and a highlight for me was when he was asked about re-recording old songs his label still owns. He said for some it is not an option and that wasn’t really thought about until recently and that anything WB had he has no control over and they will do what they want to do, but he wishes they were all on vinyl because when he is making his track lists he does think about how they’d lay out on vinyl.
I didn’t realize he had such a potty mouth and there were definitely lots if f-bombs flying in a totally fun and adorable way. He also laughed about how we got to watch him learn how to play and sing his older songs right in front of him because he doesn’t do any preparation for the requests and they have to be his songs and songs not in the set (he did shoot down one request because it would be in the show.)
After the sound check experience we got to do a m&g. We went in one at a time and he was so sweet, he signed my laminate for me and I told him how I bought tickets 10 years ago in my sleep to see him since I had been on the fence about going and he laughed and said he must’ve manifested it in my dreams. I was excited to be up close in 2nd row tonight and he warned me it would be loud but I told him I was prepared and has my ear plugs!
After the VIP we were let outside before doors would open at 630 for the show. It was lightly raining so I grabbed some snacks from my back seat and settled in my car since I’ve yet to find a fast food drive through anywhere nearby. It turned into pouring rain shortly after – but 3 kids on scooters wearing helmets still scooted by in the down pour. When doors opened, the rain had lightened up so I was able to make it back in without totally getting soaked.
The opening act was Loren Gray and she said she was very sick and not even sure she was going to be able to perform. She ended up singing along with a track and they couldn’t manage to actually sync it up, but after just getting over a cold myself, I will cut her some slack because if she had anything near like what I had, I wouldn’t have been singing at all! Her last song was called “Anti Everything” and honestly it very well could have been MY answer for the questions I had asked Hunter earlier! (Which seemed to be a theme for the evening and I’m kind of bummed I hadn’t had a chance to listen to his new album yet because all the songs seemed to be about my life!)
Hunter had said he’d be playing his new album in its entirety as well as some older stuff, and it looks like he just about did end up playing all of Red Sky. He kind of split the songs up into different sections, some had names, some didn’t. Before the ‘Sad Shit’ part of the show he advised us it would be a nice time to go to the bathroom or play on our phone if we weren’t wanting to have feelings. The women behind me decided this was permission to talk to through the songs *eye roll* He also had a self-care section of the show and openly talked about how he has been going to therapy since covid and it has helped him and if you need the help – reach out. When mental health is such a big issue in this country and it has such a stigma attached, I’m always happy when someone speaks out about it – especially a male.
Before his last song, everyone started chanting for Wanted. He thanked the crowd for shouting for it but also for not shouting for it the entire show. That is what he finished his set with.
Some highlights included – Loren joining him for his song Falling which is out NOW with the two of them singing on it (and I stood for a crowd photo they took only to realize once I stood them being on the stage was totally blocking me either way!) And when his keyboard player took his solo, he threw in “A Thousand Miles” and Hunter fell to his knees laughing at the side of the stage.
Hunter was very emotional at the end of the show and sincerely seemed very happy that he was having people coming out to spend time with him at his show. He’s so sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing him again.