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Review: Vance Joy serenades audience with ballads

International Aussie megastar brings Outback to America

Vance+Joy+wows+the+crowd+while+singing+%22Fire+and+the+Flood.%22
Vance Joy wows the crowd while singing

Vance Joy wows the crowd while singing "Fire and the Flood."

Photo by Alonzo Lepper

Photo by Alonzo Lepper

Vance Joy wows the crowd while singing "Fire and the Flood."

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Following the successful debut of his second album “Nation of Two,” Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy (James Keogh) has hit the road on a jam-packed performance spree. Joy started the North American leg of the Nation of Two World Tour on April 13 and is scheduled through July 14. He then heads to Australia in September, followed by Latin America in October and Europe in November.

Joy stopped by the Verizon Theatre on Thursday, May 3 and performed to an almost sold out venue. Although the day started off gloomy with widespread thunderstorms, as sunset approached, the skies cleared and welcomed fans when the doors opened at 7:30. But the show didn’t begin until 8:30 when Lovelytheband opened by warming up the crowd with a 45 minute performance. The band fit Joy’s fan base seemingly well, as their music created the same vibe as Joy’s and they entertained the theater while people shuffled in to find their seats.

Toward the end of their set, the band started engaging the audience with a few questions and learned that about a third of the concert goers claimed to have known them prior to this concert. After they left the stage, they invited the audience to meet them at the merchandise booth to take photos and chat about their upcoming album. Lovelytheband was well received and finished to a joyous applause.

Deconstructing the stage in between the performances lasted 15 minutes and doubled as the perfect time to use the restroom or purchase snacks before the main act. The venue itself was just OK; it worked fine for the event but was definitely not ideal for large concerts. The building lacked quality phone service inside and despite the large crowd size, only two large restrooms were available. The snack prices were also quite absurd; candy cost $3 and a cup of soda cost $6, excluding free refills. And in spite of these negative aspects, the concert itself was spectacular.

Joy started his set with “Call If You Need Me” and appeared as a shadow through a bright smoke filled stage. He then sang “Mess Is Mine” before introducing himself and engaging with the audience. Between every song on his 16 track setlist, Joy’s guitar was switched out for a newly tuned one, which despite being an insignificant detail added to the authenticity of his live performance.

Joy’s vocals were on par to his studio recorded tracks if not even better, and although he couldn’t hit all the high notes toward the end, he still lived up to his superstar reputation. His setlist contained five songs from his previous album, “Dream Your Life Away,” with the likes of “Fire and the Flood” and “Georgia,” 10 songs from his newest album including “Little Boy” and “Bonnie & Clyde” and a grand acoustic mashup cover of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” and Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”

Throughout the concert, the crowd swayed and sang along to his tunes and because Joy’s music leans toward an indie-acoustic style, his overall rhythm was enjoyable to move to. At times, the audience seemed to not enjoy the songs to their full potential, perhaps because Joy’s songs are more complex than generic pop songs, so dancing to them is not as straightforward.

In contrast to the excellent artistry and display of raw talent on Joy’s behalf, his set designs lacked an extra oomph that would have brought the concert to a whole new level. The lighting was simple and elegant, with different color schemes depending on the song and tempo, but it definitely was not the main focus of the night. Perhaps the unsophisticated set design was on purpose, to draw the crowd’s attention to Joy himself and simply add a small layer of distinction to the atmosphere.

Overall, Joy awed his fans with an hour long setlist and created an enjoyable night. He surpassed all expectations and is slowly on his way to conquering America.

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Review: Vance Joy serenades audience with ballads