JJ Vincent went expecting some good music and a biggish crowd of teenage girls. What he got was something completely different.
My guypartner and I are big country music fans. We’ve got acts we love, acts we like, a few that will make us turn the channel after the first 10 seconds.
Hunter Hayes fell squarely into the middle category, at least musically. We’ve been huge fans of his socially conscious message of “We’re Not Invisible/You’re Not Invisible/I’m Not Invisible” and the accompanying song, which reaches out to young people who feel like outsiders.
But you know how sometimes you see a band perform and something just happens? Hunter Hayes’ live concert was one of those.
First, I lost track of the number of guitars he went through. I’m guessing about 10, electric, acoustic, one that through the telephoto lens looked like it was older than him.
And he was amazing on every single one. If you listened to him on the electric guitars alone, you’d have no clue this was a 22-year-old. Amazing. This is the stuff that’s not on his albums, the stuff that if you like guitars and hear it on the radio you’d stop cold and listen. Add to that his turn singing/playing guitar/playing synth at the same time, and you’d mark this as something you’re not going to see from anyone else.
And then there were the drum kits. Kits. And the drum duel with him drummer. And the moment that you realized he was using foot pedals to record the solo bits of music he was playing, and then singing to the accompaniment he had just recorded (and wishing you’d had the camera out for that, since he was now on yet another in-the-audience stage).
And then he’s at the piano, singing his best-known love song (Wanted), one you’d not be ashamed to have your 11-year-old hear. He’s the darling of the tween/teen crowd, an immensely talented anti-Beiber.
And then he sings the title song of the tour, Invisible, with a message to everyone who had been picked on, pushed around, felt left out, been an outsider looking in, and he stands there and sings and lets the backdrop be the show.
And just so you know what else he stands for, his lobby is filled with interactive information about ending childhood hunger, and when he talks about it onstage, you know he means it, that this is not a picked-from-a-grab-bag charity.
Great way to spend a Thursday night. Or any night. Seriously.
We’ll be listening to him a lot more.
photos courtesy of the author, VBC Huntsville AL 4/17/2014