By Danielle Zalewski
(Photos by Danielle Zalewski)
If an artist is able to perform with energy and passion in a half-filled venue, with 60 percent of the audience seeming to be over 60 years old, at a casino in the middle of nowhere between Tucson and the Mexican border, well, you know that performer has something special going on.
Brett Eldredge and band came to the Desert Diamond Casino in Sahuarita (Saturday, Oct. 3) without an opening act, and got the crowd up off their feet (at least those who were were physically able). The band put on a high-energy two-hour, 19-song set. And the act was timely. The next week, Eldredge’s single, “Lose My Mind” went No. 1 on the Billboard Country Chart. s.
The show started right on time at 8 p.m., when Eldredge rather abruptly began playing “Fire”. The lights were not off all the way when Eldredge and his band took the stage. Sprinkled throughout the concert were slower songs, such as “One Mississippi” and “Mean to me,”where Eldredge took his time and really connected with the crowd. Dedicating songs to a bride in attendance with her bachelorette party, taking selfies with audience members’ cellphones, holding audience members’ hands, looking people in the eyes pouring out a sad love song. Being a true heartthrob. Eldredge also channeled his inner Frank Sinatra, with a similar smooth baritone rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon” that was obviously aimed at those in the audience for whom Sinatra was a touchstone. The show closed with a two-song encore where Eldredge performed another number one single, “Don’t Ya” and wrapped the concert up before 10 p.m.
For an act that usually sells out large venues and was headed to Las Vegas for a show the next day, Brett Eldredge and band did not disappoint. While Eldredge is no longer considered an “up-and-coming” country singer, he is the real deal. The quality of sound, the connection with the audience, and the seemingly pure enjoyment that Eldredge displays while performing was on par with other top country singers such as Luke Bryan and Kenny Chesney. It’s sometimes said that some touring performers come to Tucson and slack off, not giving the concert the same effort as they might elsewhere. Eldredge, though, seemed to work hard at it and give his all. The concert was well worth the $40 ticket to be right in front of the stage, so close that Eldredge’s sweat basically drips on you.