Hunter Hayes, with opening act Ryan Lafferty, performed at Slippery Rock on Oct. 30 and in my opinion, it was a show that will never be forgotten.
Starting off the show, country singer Ryan Lafferty performed covers of several popular songs, including “I Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd, “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar, and performed with an SRU trumpet player for a cover of “Cheerleader” by OMI. Though these were songs from the pop category, Lafferty put his own twist on each one, giving the crowd a familiar song to sing along to, but put his own stamp on it.
He also performed many original songs, all of which were lyrically pleasing and fun to dance to. His original song “One of Us” was a peaceful, slow song that got the crowd waving their lit phone screens in the air, as well as showcased his guitar skills, strumming each chord beautifully.
Throughout the show, Lafferty was showing the fans his appreciation, constantly waving to the crowd and thanking them for being there. From what I watched from up above the stage, he made it clear how much he loved performing and playing his music for the audience.
Even though I didn’t know any of his originals he played that night, I enjoyed every one of them because he performed them with energy and passion.
After the opening act, Hunter Hayes took the stage, opening the show with one of my favorite songs of his, “Tattoo” which got the crowd roaring and excited for more songs to come. When he entered the stage, I immediately gasped and held my chest in awe of his presence. I was ecstatic listening to “Tattoo” live and the performance itself was insanely good, I found myself grooving along.
He played a list of my favorites from him, including “Storyline,” “Storm Warning,” “I Want Crazy,” “21,” “Wanted” and a bunch more.
At one point in the show, he introduced the song “Everybody’s Got Somebody but Me” at the end of a different song, paused for a minute, then started it back up, playing a funky, jazzed up version of the song. From listening to the recorded version so many times, this was an interesting change from the studio version, but I wasn’t sure if I liked it entirely. It was well played, vocally and instrumentally, but it was very slowed down and the improvisation was a little too much and sounded a little off at times. However, I did sing along and rock back and forth to the song because, let’s face it, it’s such a catchy tune.
During almost all of his songs, he made sure to point his microphone towards the audience, encouraging them to sing along. He also made sure to visit each side of the stage, looking up above the stage where I, and several other fans, were watching from. He made eye contact with me at one part of the night, in which I’m sure he couldn’t see me exactly, but I died inside for the moment. He also made eye contact with the young girl next to me and she squealed with excitement.
From a musicians stand-point, his guitar playing, both electric and acoustic, was probably the absolute best I have ever seen a person play those instruments. He improvised on the guitar during many of his songs and I found myself snapchatting each guitar solo, captioning “teach me your ways” and “the shredder” because I was blown away by his musical talent. He even jammed on the mandolin, which was the first time I’ve ever seen someone play that instrument, and he played the piano which was also well done.
He played Walk the Moon’s “Shut up and Dance” which made the crowd go wild and I was again, blown away by how well he played a song that was outside of his genre.
After the show, I waited outside by his tour buses, hoping to get a chance to talk with him and I did get to have a word with him which was very nice and he even hugged me, twice.
For not being a huge country fan and not knowing the majority of the songs played throughout both artists’ performances, I couldn’t say nicer things about this show because it was an upbeat, powerful show with the most musical talent I’ve seen on stage, ever. For both artist being country singers, their music didn’t sound over the top country. They had elements of country music but added their own twist to the genre which showcased their unique style.