By David Lucas, Rock At Night Orlando
Live Review: Sister Hazel-House of Blues, Orlando-August 4, 2023
It’s a big night for Orlando, Florida, From right up the street out of Gainesville, Florida, Sister Hazel is at the House of Blues. Showing their love for Gainesville, while waiting for Sister Hazel to take the stage, another Gainesville, Florida artist, the late Tom Petty, “I Won’t Back Down” came on over the loudspeaker and everyone in the building was singing. It was amazing to hear how loud it already was in the building and the curtain to the stage had not opened yet.
“Life Got In The Way” starts coming from the stage and the curtain pulls back, Sister Hazel is on the stage. The first thing I noticed is Drew, with no shoes on and Ken is all smiles looking out over the audience. This alone shows me that the guys are comfortable and happy to be back in Orlando. From their 2003 album, Chasing Daylight up next is “Your Mistake.” The sounds of the slide guitar starts up with the intro to “Just Remember” and “That Kind of Beautiful.” From the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You and their 2000 Fortress album, next is “Your Winter.” Followed by some new music, “Hole In Your Life.”
Bassist Jett Beres gets on the mic and asks if they can bring the gospel to the House of Blues? “Let’s go to church… Dearly beloved, We are gathered here today, To get through this thing called life”. Everyone knew right away what this was, “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince. Jett finishes the speaking part and Ken comes from the side of the stage singing. He then jumps down off the front of the stage and stands on the barricade singing with members of the audience. He then steps around the barricade and makes his way through the middle of the standing room floor singing and taking selfies with members of the audience. You can hear the screams and singing from those around him.
“Change Your Mind,” and “Champagne High” were both sung with the help of the audience along with The Allman Brothers Band’s “Blue Sky,” “Follow the River” and “Shame.” The room goes quiet for a few seconds as Ryan Newell plays a little solo on his Godin guitar as a familiar sound breaks through. The cheers and screams get louder as the beginning of “All For You” can be heard. Followed by “Happy” with a little jam before the guys exit the stage.
For the encore Drew returns to the stage on keyboard/piano with “This Kind of Love” and Dave on saxophone playing into a tribute to Sinéad O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U.” As I’m standing backstage looking through the curtain on the side of the stage I can see the amount of people singing along and also wiping their eyes. Changing gears, the rest of the band jumps back in with Swan Dive and a cover of The Killers, Mr. Brightside.
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