With the show that he put on at the Fillmore Auditorium Friday night, it’s hard to believe that Chris Stapleton is currently on his debut tour for his highly anticipated first LP “Traveller.” This country singer/songwriter not only knows how to put a brilliant piece of music together; he knows how to run a show like a forty-year veteran of the stage. I mean, let’s give the man his dues, he has been in the game for over a decade a half writing hit after hit for the likes of George Strait, Patty Loveless, Alan Jackson and Adele just to name a few. Still, it’s hard to believe that with the response Stapleton got from the Denver crowd on Friday night, he isn’t the one showing George Strait a thing or two about country music.
Opening the show with the album titled song, “Traveller,” Stapleton could barely be heard over the crowd singing along. Denver nearly lost its mind every time they heard the first two chords of hits like “Fire Away,” “Might as Well Get Stoned” (a Colorado favorite Stapleton dedicated to the memory of Merle Haggard), and the acoustic heart wrenching “Whiskey and You.” Yet, Stapleton never lost control of his audience, singing newer songs that we can only hope are planned to make the next LP, sending every single person in that auditorium souring with his soulful and alluring voice, dark bluesy rock jam sessions and prodigious covers of George Jones’ “Tennessee Whiskey,” and Credence Clearwater Revivals “Long as I Can See the Light.”
It was pretty easy to get swept away in the moment while Stapleton was on stage with his small but intimate band made up of four of his closest friends and his wife Morgane. Unlike other artists, he introduced his band to the audience through a free style song, explaining who they were and why they were important in his life; just another moment that the audience got to enjoy his ardent voice and take in what this man truly has to offer to the music world. Alongside Stapleton, his band performed “You Are My Sunshine” (sung almost entirely by his wife Morgane who has the voice of an angel). If you were looking for a flashy show with set changes and an artist running around stage to engage the audience, you were most certainly disappointed. For Stapleton, none of that is needed; as one of my dear friends put it, it was simply all about the music and that was that.
To keep this as straightforward as possible, Chris Stapleton was incredible. If you missed either of the two shows he put on in Denver, I don’t think you have much to worry about. He isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.