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Concert Reviews:
Kacey Musgraves delivers a "Golden Hour" (and a half) in Royal Oak

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2019

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ROYAL OAK -- Two songs into her concert Thursday night, Jan. 10, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, Kacey Musgraves pronounced that "we all belong in this room."

It was intended as a quasi-political message of inclusiveness, but it also spoke to the make-up of the sold-out crowd, and to how the award-winning and critically lauded singer-songwriter from small town Texas has deftly bridged the country-pop divide over the course of four albums. The metro Detroit Oak chapter of the Kacey nation indeed ran a gamut, from families with young children (prime ears for Musgraves' many F-bombs) to twang-favoring die-hards -- different trailers all inhabiting the same park, to paraphrase her first album's title.

"I'm sure we all believe all different things," Musgraves noted. "But the one thing we have in common is we all love...music."

They certainly loved Musgraves' 19-song, 95-minute show on Thursday, which not surprisingly weighed heavily on last year's pop-leaning "Golden Hour" album and also featured covers from each side of her musical line -- Gloria Gaynor's disco hit "I Will Survive" (sung with opening act Natalie Prass) and Brooks & Dunn's "Neon Moon." And almost as a counter to her energetic opening set for Harry Styles last summer at Little Caesars Arena, the set found Musgraves and her six-piece band dialing down the charisma and focusing on the music, with the singer content to spend most of the show in static, center stage mode with her acoustic guitar.

Sporting a white fur over a fringed orange dress, Musgraves began the night center stage, flanked by two keyboard rigs as she sang "Golden Hour's" appropriately titled "Slow Burn" -- with the audience singing along. Her band was not only tight but nuanced throughout the show, steering the songs with texture and ambient accents that ran from the country flavor of "Butterflies" and "Merry Go 'Round" to the jazzy pop of "Lonely Weekend," the smooth flow of "Happy & Sad" and the noir lilt of "High Time."

The dramatic outro of "Golden Hour's" title track was an instrumental highlight, followed by an acoustic set of "Mother," "Oh, What a World," "Family is Family" and "Love is a Wild Thing." Musgraves and company finished at a gallop with "Follow Your Arrow," while her own dance-pop single "High Horse" brought the show to a close that had all persuasions of her fans grooving and finding the common ground Musgraves called for early on.

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