Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
hat does Old Dominion do heading into the final weekend of its usual stint of opening shows for Kenny Chesney on his summer stadium Here And Now Tour? Well, why not play another gig before a packed house of around 900 instead of tens of thousands? Each setting may have its merits for Old Dominion, but the quintet sure exuded outright joy throughout the 100-minute set was palpable.
Old Dominion mixed in songs from throughout its career with a bevy of hits and a few lesser-known songs with an emphasis on 2017's "Happy Endings," playing six songs from the disc. What better way to start a joyous night than with "Make It Sweet"? Like a number of Old Dominion songs, there was a lightness to the lyrics and the radio friendly songs, many of which focus on affairs of the heart.
Lead singer Matthew Ramsey is a steady, reliable focal point with a soulful tilt to his vocal delivery. He had more than ample back-up help from the very revved-up (in a good way) 900-plus in attendance, often needing no encouragement to help out.
And this is a well-oiled band as well with Brad Tursi typically taking numerous quick leads. Trevor Rosen helped out on acoustic guitar, keyboards and even accordion on the closing number "Rock and Roll Part I/I Was on a Boat That Day." And the rhythm section of drummer whit Sellers and bassist Geoff Sprung cast down the anchor.
Yet, the show was loose enough that Old Dominion took in three or four requests from the fans, giving more of a freewheeling spirit to the night.
At one point, Ramsey opined, "Time flies. It really seems like yesterday we were ready (to release) our second one." There was a connection to Boston with that. Ramsey recalled that the group played a Super Bowl party in Houston after the New England Patriots mounted the biggest comeback in history to overcome the Atlanta Falcons, came home to Nashville at 4 a.m. drunk and quickly hit the studio to complete "Happy Endings."
Good way to connect with the hometown crowd without resorting to worn out alternative of wearing a Pats or Red Sox jersey.
One thing was for sure. Old Dominion wasn't doing this gig for the money since the price was definitely right - free. Label it a fun night out for band and fans.
Ramsey made that super clear before leaving the stage. "This has been an absolute dream," he said of playing concerts again in the COVID era. "10 times as good as I thought it would be." With nights like this, that was no surprise.