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Opening night jitters for Rose? No way

Brighton Music Hall, Boston, February 9, 2023

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Here's what Lily Rose had to "contend" with when she arrived in Beantown. This was opening night of her first-ever headlining tour. She and her backing band had not played a gig since opening for Dylan Scott in November.

But neither seemed to matter . No opening night jitters whatsoever as Lily Rose kicked off the tour in fine fashion over the course of 70 minutes of rock with soulful vocals inflections and a dose of country. Rose is not exactly a country traditionalist, but in these days where everything goes across seemingly all commercial genres, it's probably labels be damned.

No surprise, but Rose was pretty amped up getting the evening going with "I Don't Smoke" and "Know My Way Around You.," and her energy level remained at about 10 throughout. She's also a pretty expressive singer with songs of depth, often about relationships.

Bringing out opening act Lauren Watkins, Rose scored points on a meaty version of "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" that would have made Shania Twain proud.

Rose is most unique among the Nashville crowd. She's an out-and-proud lesbian and spoke to that in meeting her fiancé in Nashville before launching into "Here For It. This was once a taboo subject for gay country musicians. Just ask Ty Herndon and the unnamed country acts who never could come act. And when they did (Chely Wright), that was a career killer. If Lily Rose is today's standard bearer (along with T.J. Osborne of Brothers Osborne), good for her (and us).

This was a night of emotion for Rose, who at one point told the overwhelmingly female crowd, "I've never felt so supported in my entire life," before launching into Truth Is," wiping away tears. It's refreshing to witness an artist, who isn't afraid to genuinely emote their feelings instead of going with the usual platitudes. (now about wearing that "Boston" baseball hat...)

A few points of what could have made an even better show. At times, Rose rocked a bit too hard, and her reading of on "Every Last One" song fell flat as her vocals were a bit pitchy. Rose also had incorporated rock and acoustic medleys. Better to have done all of "Complicated" and "Tequila" than a snippet of these and others.

In fact, the acoustic set was a high point as it demonstrated that Rose knew a thing or two about putting a song out there.

The typical thinking is that a tour will only get better and better over time. If that's the case, Rose gave herself a very very high bar to jump over.

Of the three acts on the bill, Watkins, the opener, was the most obvious country singer. The lanky Nashville native made the most of her half hour eight-song set. Watkins is an emotive singer (think Sheryl Crow). Accompanied only by an acoustic guitarist, who helped on backing vocals, the focus was on Watkins' vocal skills. All good.

Watkins also had a plethora of quality songs ranging from the opener "Grain of Salt" to "Dark Places," perhaps the best song of the set. Simply stated, Watkins bears watching.

This has been a big week for Griffen Palmer, who was the middle act. The Canadian singer appeared on the TV-reality show The Bachelor this week singing his best-known song, "Second Guessing," which Florida Georgia Line recorded. Affable, like the other performers, Palmer scored well with his singing skills.

Less so on the songs themselves. The lead-off "Small Town Afterall" as did "Crying Over You," but Palmer wasn't anything you hadn't heard before.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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