Gary Allan descended on Cape Cod, MA and blew the top off the famous Melody Tent in Hyannis.
Summer nights and concerts, they go together like heat waves and tan lines. And on Cape Cod there’s no shortage of eclectic summer vibrations. From fairs to festivals, corner bars and art centers, many a night air on Cape is filled with sounds of rock, reggae, blues, Irish, folk and country. And for both residents and visitors, the stay isn’t complete without taking in at least one show at the Melody Tent in Hyannis.
A rather unique little venue, the Melody Tent is known for having not a bad seat in the house. And on Sunday, June 30th, the Melody Tent became known for playing host to country music favorite, Gary Allan.
From the Ryman to the Melody Tent
Allan, a California-bred, hard rockin’, hard livin’ true-to-the-genre country phenomenon recently celebrated a double-billed sellout at Nashville’s famous Ryman Auditorium. So when I caught Gary’s name on the summer marquee, I ‘bout fell off my paddle board.
What a gift. What an honor. And man-oh-man, what a night it was under that tent.
Amidst the heat, humidity, intermittent rain and burning floodlights, Gary Allan hit the center of the slow-turning stage and for 90 minutes gave his eye-level audience a “Tough Goodbye”.
Thunder and Lightning in a Set List
I’m always intrigued heading to the concert of a well-seasoned artist, wondering what their set list will consist of. And with Allan’s catalog of tender ballads, rugged rockers, painful yet always optimistic introspection and playful teasers, I’m sure glad it wasn’t my job to put together a list.
But Allan broke out the top shelf, buried treasures and fan favorites – mixed in a couple of freshly fermented shots off his new album and delivered an intoxicating concoction, stopping only briefly for a swig of Jack D.
Clad in a blue tee and a unique pair of black leather pants, Allan’s thunder in his veins and lightening in his chest reverberated lyrically and emotionally, confirming that’s “Right Where I Need To Be”.
Wasting not one second covering an expansive musical territory, Gary brought the crowd back in time to his first single (“Her Man”- a Waylon cover), fast forward to his #1 single “Every Storm Runs Out of Rain”, and traversed across time and country to raise a toast to “She’s So California” – co-written with Jaime Hanna (of the short lived but I will forever remember duo Hanna-McEuen). He paid tribute to his first #1 single, “Man to Man” and had the crowd rockin’ to a playful rendition of “My Little Runaway”.
Several “Set You Free” Tracks
While neither the tour nor the evening were wrapped around a complete promotion of Allan’s #1 debuting album “Set You Free”, he sampled enough of the album’s tracks to make anyone who didn’t already own this masterpiece head straight for Walmart in the morning.
“Sand in My Soul” has so much grit you can feel the gravel tearing through the ethers of introspection and Gary did a fine job of tempting the crowd with this one. “One More Time” gave you a moment to catch your breath and absorb not only this thought-provoking lyric but the story behind the song. Allan took to the mic and shared beneath cracked emotional vocal tenderness the tribute of “One More Time” in honor of his father’s passing. The pissed off attitude in“Bones” Allan confessed is not something he usually sings of but this one is a smash live! “Pieces”, Allan’s current single, reminds us what we’re all made from. And if I had to commit to a favorite off “Set You Free” it would be “It Ain’t The Whiskey”. It ain’t what you’re thinking and you’re in for a surprise with this one. It’s a theme country music’s covered time and again. But never has an artist covered this subject matter lyrically and vocally the way Allan delivers this sobering story.
A Small Window Exceeding Expectation
Allan had a small window to make a mark on this small Cape Cod town. But this hard-core, country rockin’ Californian exceeded expectation telling stories, interacting with the crowd, delivering a 20 plus song set list and confessing:
“Cape Cod, I like this place. We’d love to come back if you guys will have us.”
And then returning to the mic with a crowd-inviting “Best I Ever Had” sing-along, an explosion of “Man of Me” and a roof raising delivery of “Watching Airplanes” that had Gary tuned in to the crowd as much as his guitar, catching a little girl standing front and center and stopping momentarily to retrieve something and hand it to her.
All told, between stories, songs, his signature twang and unique style, Gary Allan made quite an impression on this little piece of heaven on earth called Cape Cod. This tattooed thunderbolt has a tender reservation in his persona that penetrates without permission or forgiveness and Allan definitely seduced you with it.
A Tough Goodbye
I wasn’t sure time would permit an encore but the crowd sure took a stand chanting his name and hoping for a return.
It was hard to believe Allan had anything left in him after what he’d delivered, but return he did. He topped the evening off with a two-song encore and this lingering thought:
A Gary Allan concert is like “Drinking Dark Whiskey” – it hits you hard and leaves you longing for more.
Check out Gary Allan’s current video – “Pieces”
off his #1 Album, “Set You Free”