I Have More Fun When They’re Having Fun

There are few things I love more than watching an artist or a band that loves to perform. I have always had a more enjoyable time at concerts when the band gets into the music and looks like they are genuinely having a good time. This typically only occurs at country music concerts and this trend continued this weekend at the Turnpike Troubadours concert at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

IMG_1928It was a great show, from beginning to end. I camped out at the stage for an hour with six of my friends and it was well worth it because we were about 20 feet from the stage and right smack dab in middle. I swear I made eye contact with Evan, the lead singer, multiple times. He even looked right at my camera at one point. I had so much fun singing along to the songs, but I could tell the band had even more fun.

I loved Turnpike Troubadours before I saw them this weekend and now I love them even more. When they walked on stage, you could see Evan’s face light up when he saw everyone in the crowd cheering and screaming. It was easy to tell that he and his band-mates were beyond honored to be at ACL playing for everyone out there.

Throughout the show, each band member would take turns coming forward during songs to get close to the audience and engage with them. They wanted to see our faces, they wanted to see us sing, and they wanted us to see that they were excited to be there performing for us. They would smile at each other at points in their songs when the crowd shouted the lyrics or when we cheered long after their songs ended. They had smiles on their faces for the majority of the show. I had a feeling they would be excited to be there because they are a smaller band and this may have been the largest stage they’ve played on, but I had no idea how much they would show how excited they were to be there.

That's the steel guitar on the left!

That’s the steel guitar on the left!

Another thing I loved about this concert was how genuine of a country band they are. Until taking this class, I had never really thought about what it meant to “be country,” but know that I have I know that Turnpike Troubadours really are country. They have everything that makes up a country band, from the instruments, the lyrics, and the look.

Their setlist from the concert.

They have acoustic guitars, electric guitars, a fiddle, a banjo, drums, and the instrument I was most excited about, the steel guitar. When I saw it sitting up there, I immediately thought about this class and how influential the steel guitar has been throughout country music history. Their songs are filled with stories about love, nostalgia, and being out in the country. They opened the show with my favorite song, “Every Girl” which describes a girl whom a boy is in love with. The lyrics echo nostalgia, love, and everything it means to be country. It states “she was born in the morning late October San Atone” and describes her as “a sober Sunday kitchen conversation with my dad,” “every friend I’ve ever had,” and “a flighty good time buddy in the corner of the bar.”

All in all, this was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. I was more excited to be there once I saw how excited the band was. I really think it makes a difference when a band shows how honored and happy they are to be performing – it makes it so much more enjoyable for the audience and it definitely made it more enjoyable for me at this concert.


Filed under Austin, Live Music, New Country, Reflection, Texas

8 Responses to I Have More Fun When They’re Having Fun

  1. Brent Borman

    This is the first year I haven’t gone to ACL in several years, so I must admit that I am a bit jealous after reading about your experience. I have never heard of the Turnpike Troubadours but I agree that it makes a huge difference when an artist interacts with the crowd. Most of the people who come to live shows are dedicated fans who have supported the artist by buying their music, so it is definitely heart warming when the love is reciprocated. There have been a few artists I have seen, such as Damian Marley and Deadmau5, that acted like complete jerks to the crowd and really turned me off from their music. It sounds like the Turnpike Troubadours were really down to earth and put on a fun show.

  2. Elizabeth Stack

    I got to see the Turnpike Troubadours last year at the state fair, and its so exciting to see them getting on a bigger stage. They really do deserve it. Their performance is so entertaining without having all of the extra many performers use to impress the audience. Even though it was crowded, people were two stepping and hollering along. I agree that they’re very country, but what I find interesting is their ability to carve out their own unique sound and place within the genre. As a “Red Dirt” band, they don’t get as much play on the radio, but they’ve gathered a loyal following, because of the quality of their music. Their lyrics are well written, and Evan’s has a quality to his voice that really gets across the feeling of his songs. I’m so jealous you got to see them up close at ACL!

  3. Amy Burt

    I agree with you when you say that concerts are more enjoyable when the performers get more into their music, Ramie! It’s always so fun to see their passion in the music that they are playing. Before I came to Texas I didn’t know who Turnpike was, but now I love them! The first time I saw them play was last year at the Cowboys fundraising concert Harvest Moon. I think I would classify them as Texas country music because it seems like everyone here is obsessed with them. You made a good point when you said that its hard to define what really classifies as country, but I think when it comes to Turnpike there is no question about them having a strictly country sound.

  4. Victoria Horvath

    It’s so true when you say that concerts are just so much more fun when the artists are enjoying themselves! There is nothing worse than seeing a performance where the band is lackluster and clearly only there for the publicity. In country music especially, it is exciting to see the artist rock out and dance around on stage, because honestly, who just wants to watch someone stand at a microphone and sing straight-faced all night? It sounds like the Turnpike Troubadours give a great performance, so I hope I will get to see them live one day!

  5. MaKayla Markey

    I’m going to have to disagree with your statement that usually only country music bands get into the show and their music at concerts. I have been to multiple concerts that were not country where I felt the musicians were heavily into the music and putting on a good interactive show. However I definitely agree that this can make or break a show. It is so important to make that connection with the audience so you can set the desired mood and receive good feedback at a show. When you send good energy to the audience, they send it back making the show that much more powerful making it an undoubtedly good experience for everyone.

  6. Hannah Parmer

    Wow, your experience sounds amazing! I have never been to Austin City Limits nor have I seen Turnpike Troubadours in person. Honestly, I actually rarely listen to their music, but after reading your article I want to! I think it is awesome that the band was so excited and grateful to be performing at ACL. I love humble performers who get into the concert and don’t just take it for granted. I also think its cool how a good country band got to perform at ACL, I always thought of it as a pop or rock music festival. It seems as if they are a true band that stays true to themselves and where they came from.

  7. Dustin Hixenbaugh

    Ramie: Your post makes me think I should give ACL another try. I had two bad experiences in my first two years here and decided not to go back. Also, I think you and the people who have commented are picking up on the joys of seeing musicians perform live more than once — especially when they’re getting more and more famous. When you know where a band has come from, you can really imagine how excited they must be to have such a devoted and large crowd. Music listeners also like to prove they’re bigger fans than other people by being able to say we knew a band before it hit the big time.

  8. Mark Anderson

    Ramie, I am really jealous that you got to go to ACL this year!! I tried to buy a one day pass this past saturday but most of the people selling tickets were asking $200-$250 which is absolutely ridiculous, so that was too bad. But, I know I will definitely be going next year as long as I remember to buy tickets on time! Anyways, I agree with the fact that if it’s obvious that the band performing is having a great time it makes the experience so much more enjoyable for everyone. I have never heard of the Turnpike Troubadours but it sounds like they are awesome at what they do. I really like when instead of just performing at a concert, that the artist engages the audience and makes them feel involved. If they are at ACL next year I may check them out!

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