From the first listen of Kacey Musgraves’ fourth studio album, star-crossed, it’s easy to pick up on the fact that it’s her most entrancing and visual-driven record to date. The diverse instrumentation and the concept of heartbreak being told like acts in a tragedy was a step out of the box for the country artist. When Musgraves announced the ‘star-crossed: unveiled tour’ set to start in January of 2022, it was highly anticipated to see how she would make use of arena shows, the first for Musgraves, to tell the story of her latest LP.
The show began with the sound of a heart quite literally breaking in two with a video also depicting it, reminiscent of the star-crossed album cover. The haunting sounds from the title track started and the dramatic blood-red curtain, similar to those used in theatre shows, pulls aside to reveal Musgraves on a small pedestal. When she appears, the crowd burst with applause. Behind her is a heart that caught fire during the opening track. The entrance was the definition of captivating and the growing instrumental blared of darkness and mystique.
The second on the tracklist, “good wife,” was conveniently placed as it acts as the second track on the LP. In her live show, Musgraves performs the more pop-sounding anthem that was recorded with visible autotune into an acoustic blend that has a touch of country twang. When she performed “cherry blossom,” pink and white confetti fell from above enhancing the experience of the already magical-sounding song.
When Musgraves first addressed the crowd in a speaking interlude, she mentioned how it was her first headling arena tour and that she was grateful for the fans that showed up explaining how it would’ve been “awkward” had they not. Her speeches were real, she frequently let curse words fly, but that made it feel genuine and unpolished in the best way.
In the middle of the concert, Musgraves performed tunes from her Grammy-award-winning album Golden Hour. When she sang the title track, instead of singing the real words “golden hour” at the very end, she instead sang “golden showers” hinting at the failed relationship and making the crowd laugh. As always, “High Horse” was another standout; the pop-infused country jam is a crowd-pleaser, and everyone grooved as Musgraves spun around the heart-shaped stage.
Her band disappeared off stage and that’s when she stood at the very front of the stage with only an acoustic guitar. Musgraves introduced the next song by saying, “The year is 2012” and immediately the crowd yells with joy. She touched on how her label didn’t want to put out the track she was teasing because it was “too sad” and it would put people to sleep. It was “too risky” for a new female in the country genre. When she picked the first few chords of “Merry Go ‘Round,” a sudden hush fell over the crowd. It was nearly silent when Musgraves wasn’t singing and only the instrumental was the attraction, but when she was, the fans knew every word.
During her “Kaceyoke” segment, she called out a day one fan who Musgraves knew by name to pick the song she covered. She ended up singing the country classic “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton. The energy in the arena was unmatched as the lyrics flashed on the screen so everyone could sing along.
Another moving segment was the track Musgraves covered for her album, “gracias a la vida.” The staging was the most haunting of the night as Kacey stood with artificial roses next to her band member playing the Spanish guitar. As it progressed she moved to the same pedestal she began the show standing on, and when the climactic revue came to a close, she fell backward off the stage with her hands crossed against her chest making a grand exit.
For the encore, she played two more Golden Hour staples: “Slow Burn” and “Rainbow.” Before “Rainbow,” Musgraves thanked the fans for coming on her journey with her and appreciating her creative visions. She thanked fans for every ticket they buy and every piece of merch they buy. And although energetic songs are typically the finales at events, Musgraves’ using “Rainbow” as the send-off, wrapped up the emotionally-charged night with a big bow on top.
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