Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
organ Evans bounded on stage filled with his very warm smile and good cheer, not to mention an anthemic, acoustic-based singalong, "Young Again." The song is ostensibly about a quick developing relationship, but a few lines could have easily been applied to what was to come: "This night could last forever/But it won't be long enough."
Not everything went down that easy. Not when you have songs like "Over For You," his heartbreaking song about the end of his marriage to Kelsea Ballerini. He switched from acoustic guitar to keyboards, and simply put, the song just makes you feel sad and bad for Evans no matter what the reality of the relationship was (Ballerini has responded musically with her own take on the marriage).
But Evans had a few upbeat songs like his propulsive hit, "Kiss Somebody" as well as the month-old acoustic "Thank God She's a Country Girl." The song, of course, is a take-off on John Denver's Thank God I'm a Country Boy." In Evans' hands, it was a fun romp filled with good cheer and is dyed-in-the-wool country. The upbeat "All Right Here" also fit the country sound as did "Hey Little Mama."
Evans would soon get very serious again with "Things That We Drink To/Fix You." The song was written on the day of the memorial service for his Australian manager Rob Potts, who brought him to the U.S., who died in a motorcycle accident in 2017.
All good things have to come to an end, and that was true of this show. But it wasn't with the upbeat sensibilities of "Young Again." Instead, Evans closed with "On My Own Again," from the "Life Upside Down" EP out earlier this year in the wake of his split from Ballerini. It's more of a sad song – that is, until Evans sings at the end, "If forever's gonna end like that, I guess I'd better start/The rest of my life, like the best times, up around the bend."
As Evans told the crowd in introducing the song, "If there's one thing I hope you can (feel) through tonight is a feeling of hope...You don't have to do it on your own. There are people who can help."
If music is cathartic, then Evans and fans should have been feeling pretty damn good about this night despite his personal travail. Maybe life hasn't necessarily been the best of times for Evans, but with nights like this, one only wished that it would have lasted forever. Well, at least even longer.
Texas singer Erin Kinsey with a stint that showed her a good singer who has honed her stage presence. She was certainly helped by her ace guitarist, who came up with a bunch of fiery licks, but also could tone it down. Kinsey has a lot of good – not great - songs that go down easy ("Handful" and "I Got You"). Kinsey showed enough during her opening act to merit watching.