The Vocals On Top concert scorecard is an attempt to quickly and concisely review a live concert. The scoring system is intended to encapsulate not only the performance but the venue, audience and overall value of the show among other factors. Here are my thoughts on my latest show:
- Artist: Chris Stapleton
- Openers: Kendall Marvel, Brothers Osborn
- Date: 10/26/19
- City: Kansas City, MO
- Venue: Sprint Center
Overall Score 66/100
The Sprint Center seats over 19,000 people for a concert and this show was sold out. For such a large show getting in and out of my upper deck seating are weren’t bad. The seats are comfortable enough and there are always drinks and restrooms pretty close.
The crowd for such a large show was very well behaved in the upper tank. Most stayed seated the whole show and there were no drunken shenanigans immediately noticeable. The crowd was into the show and most stayed through the encore.
The opening acts were Kendall Marvel, and old school Nashville songwriter who was really excellent and Brothers Osborn who were a lot more generic bro-country than either of the other two acts on the night. Their set had solos and raunchy radio friendly country hooks and a lot of the other things that make me limit my exposure to country music concerts.
The merch booth for Chris Stapleton was pretty solid, $35 shirts are always way too high, if a local band can make them and sell them for $20 each a big artist such as Stapleton is robbing his fans blind by charging $35. The shirt selection was decent though, a few designs and my favorite merch item, shirts with tour dates on the back were available.
As with most big shows the sound was pretty spot on. A lot of preparation goes into these shows and their stuff is dialed in. Even in the huge crowd Stapleton’s vocals were still clear and the overall sound wasn’t muddy at all.
Stapleton’s setlist was quite good, all the hits were there and a few songs were played that weren’t standard on his recent setlists. “Tennessee Whiskey” is the big crowd pleaser but a song about his recently deceased dog brought tears and a couple acoustic performances really tugged some heart strings.
The guy can really sing well, he can also flat out rip on guitar. He was personable and really nailed the songs. You could tell he and his band have a great rapport and the show was tight without sounding stiff. One close person in proximity kept exclaiming how much he sounded like the CD, I guess that is probably quite a good thing for this audience.
I hate over-the-top arena shows and this one was nicely subdued. There were a couple video boards but not over the top lasers or props, again this is probably because of the style of music performed.
It’s difficult to perform shows of this size across the country and not create a certain uniformness to them. The setlists are all similar and each night probably appears much like the next that is a lot like the last.
By the time you figure in parking, tickets, merch and beer these kinds of shows get insanely expensive. I’ll never score a show at a big arena very high here but you also can’t see Chris Stapleton at a 2000 seat club either.
Final Score 66/100
It was a fun show with a great musician playing, Stapleton is the real deal and deserves to be playing arenas, I don’t know if I would have said that before seeing this show. Big shows are always odd because you totally miss any intimacy you get a bar shows but you get a really professional show almost always.