Kacey Musgraves commands at the Sprint Pavilion

The country singer led the sold-out crowd to laugh, cry and celebrate life

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Grammy award winner Kacey Musgraves gave a fun-filled groovy performance at Sprint Pavilion last week.

Robin Schwartzkopf | Cavalier Daily

“This is a fun, unique little environment,” Kacey Musgraves said to the sold-out crowd at the Sprint Pavilion on Friday night. “This guy has amazing sparkly overalls I’m kinda jealous of.” 

The audience roared its approval. It was 9:30, an hour and a half after the opener, Weyes Blood, and nearly three hours after eager fans had begun to mill about the venue. The excitement for Musgraves was palpable, evidenced by the array of light-up cowboy hats visible from fifty yards away and the buzz in the general seating area. 

Weyes Blood’s opening fanned the flames. The singer-songwriter shared some astral jams while prodding the crowd, “Is everybody ready to cry tonight?” After her set, concertgoers had almost another hour to wait before Musgraves would make her entrance but spent most of the time eating, drinking and chatting while the anxious tension built.  

When Musgraves took to the stage and shared her delight at the Sprint Pavilion and its occupants, the venue erupted in cheers. She had appeared under a rainbow light, accompanied by the instrumental of “Oh What a World,” which she would go on to play later in the show. She opened the set with “Slow Burn,” a dreamy, wistful number that felt at once global — “In Tennessee, the sun’s going down / But in Beijing they’re heading out to work” — and intimate.      

Musgraves won Album of the Year Grammy for her 2018 release “Golden Hour,” her fourth album since making her debut in 2013. Most of her set was pulled from the award-winner, including upbeat hits that had the crowd jumping like “Wonder Woman,” “Velvet Elvis” and, to close the show, “High Horse.” Musgraves also shared many of the slower, more melancholy tracks off the album, inviting the crowd to share in the emotion of “Mother” and “Space Cowboy.”

While most of the show was pulled from “Golden Hour” — and that seemed to be what the audience had anticipated, given its national acclaim — Musgraves also played a few tracks from her debut album, “Same Trailer Different Park,” including the cheeky “Follow Your Arrow” and a slowed-down version of “Merry Go Round,” as well as “Family is Family” from 2015’s “Pageant Material.” Musgraves tended to add a bit of preface to these numbers, talking about her hometown, family and career as a country artist who doesn’t get much play on the radio. 

All of Musgraves’ songs have a kind of emotional relatability, prompting an almost automatic empathetic response. The crowd at the Sprint Pavilion was prepared to share feelings — to dance, to sing, to laugh, to mourn and to celebrate. As Musgraves said before she began her frustrated ode to her childhood home of Golden, Texas, this song “is definitely about your hometown too.”    

Musgraves’ pure talent was on display all night through a performance of paradox. On “Happy and Sad,” Musgraves wonders, “Is there a word for the way that I’m feeling tonight? / Happy and sad at the same time.” Her voice mirrored the complexity of smiling with tears in your eyes, channeling a powerful delicacy that commanded the large venue without having to belt the lyrics. 

The emotional exploration was also guided throughout the night by a series of visuals and light displays, matching the tenor of the show by drifting between tye-dye butterflies, storm clouds and rainbows and colorful spectacles that danced across the covered pavilion. Despite being only one woman, Musgraves commanded the stage. Even when not visible from the back of the venue her voice and performance made it seem as if you were all sitting around an intimate campfire, relaxing and embracing and swaying to the music. 

To close the show, Musgraves extended “a sincere thank you … for coming out here tonight,” as the same rainbow light that announced her presence reappeared onstage. She began her last two songs with “Rainbow,” the closing track from “Golden Hour.”

“Let go of your umbrella, darlin I’m just tryin’ to tell ya / That there’s always been a rainbow hangin’ over your head,” she sang, “It’ll all be alright.” 

After savoring the reflective hope and satisfaction of “Rainbow,” Musgraves decided to make the final word one of triumphant, groovy glee. The crowd jumped and danced along to “High Horse,” and after the disco-country anthem ended, Musgraves shouted to the breathless crowd, “You guys are gonna have us back, right?” A chorus of raucous cheers answered her question. 

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