What do the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Radio City Music Hall all have in common? They are iconic New York City landmarks and on Friday night, three women who all hail from different cities in the country stood on the stage at the latter, sang their hearts out and inspired a sold-out crowd. Maren Morris’ GIRL: The World Tour made its way back to the tristate area this past weekend, a few months after playing smaller venues around the city including Brooklyn Bowl and Terminal 5.
The sheer fact that her fans are so dedicated that they sold out another venue, this time a room filled with six thousand seats, is remarkable, but, what is even more outstanding is these country music fans all came to see three women. In a time where Morris and Kelsea Ballerini are the only two females who have made it to the top of the charts in the past year and a half, the amount of love and support for these three female artists displayed throughout the night was palpable.
The night of girl power kicked off with Hailey Whitters, a smalltown Iowa native who has been grinding away in Nashville, writing music and performing around town for 12 years, all while waiting tables to pay the bills. Feeling like a human disco ball, she laughed, Whitters took the stage covered in sparkles from her romper to her shoes and even specks of sparkles in her tights. She delicately delivered songs that are soon to be released this Friday, on her EP The Days including “All The Cool Girls”, “Dream Girl”, “Heartland” and the title track.
Her cool, folky rhythm and honest songwriting captivated the fans who arrived early. “To anyone out there tonight hanging on to the tail end of a dream, and wondering if you should just give it up…don’t,” Whitters humbly emotes to the crowd before playing the song that truly ‘turned it all around’ “10 Year Town”. She thanked Morris who she said, “changed the whole damn game” for her by inviting her out on this tour, allowing her to showcase her talent to a sea of new fans each and every night.
Next up, was one of our 2019 Artists to Watch, Kassi Ashton, who absolutely brought the heat and the energy to the famed stage. Ashton who is as unique as they come, kicked her set off with “Taxidermy”, a tongue in cheek revenge track that was released last year. This powerhouse danced in front of white flames, singing not only her previously released tracks, “Violins”, “California, Missouri” and “Pretty Shiny Things” but she performed an epic cover of Eric Church’s “Chattanooga Lucy” as well as Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”, which was met with screams from the sold-out audience.
Ashton has the ability to make you fall in love with her charismatic personality while watching her perform, enticing you to get up and dance but also carefully listen to her well-crafted lyrics. After seeing her set, we are certainly proud to have named her one of our Artists to Watch this year and we just know she will be garnering throngs of new fans on this tour run.
The most nominated artist in the upcoming CMA Awards was up next, headliner, Maren Morris. She opened her set with her latest number one single “GIRL”, and Morris, who may be small in stature, commanded the attention of the sold-out venue standing behind a mic stand, holding an acoustic guitar and strumming those familiar first chords. Throughout the night, Morris performed songs from both of her albums, HERO and GIRL. “Thank you so much, this is honestly such a friggin bucket list dream of mine to play this venue and the fact that you sold it out, it’s Friday night, it just means the world to me,” she gratefully expressed.
The true songwriter was also on display throughout her set as she took time to chat with the audience about moments in her life that have ultimately led her to stand under that legendary velvet curtain. It was apparent to all in the room how important music is to the songstress, especially before she performed “A Song For Everything”. “In this weird ass world that can sometimes feel really fucked up and dark, music is kind of the most magical form of time travel, and for me, it’s the strongest sense tied to memories,” she stated “You feel that song, when you hear a lyric or hear a chord and it just immediately transports you back to the first time you were on the way to kindergarten in your mom’s car, and there was a song on in the background, also your first kiss and the first time someone just completely destroyed your heart, there are those songs that became the soundtrack of those periods in your life.”
Of course, she performed her biggest hits including her collaboration with Zedd and Gray, “The Middle”, her first number one hit “I Could Use A Love Song” and “80’s Mercedes”. She even took a few moments out of her show to pay homage to her brand new band, The Highwomen which were celebrating their album release day. Morris along with Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby, and Brandi Carlile make up the supergroup and she stood alone on the stage to perform “Crowded Table” from their debut, self-titled album. “This song was really born out of wanting to say, you know through all of the polarizing shit, please, come and sit with us at our table and let’s have a conversation….” she continued. “There is a lot of love in this world and I feel so much of it when we sing this song, this is our song “Crowded Table”.
She then welcomed back to the stage her direct support, Kassi Ashton and Hailey Whitters to perform together one for “the 90’s babies” a cover of The Cardigans “Love Fool”. The ladies even channeled their best inner Rockettes and closed out the song by linking arms for a sweet little kick line dance. The energy and the fun could be felt throughout Radio City to the very top of the venue.
No backup singers were needed at Radio City Music Hall on Friday night, the audience sang along like a well-versed choir to even the deep cuts including “Second Wind”, “Gold Love” and “Once”. Closing out the evening with the song that got it all started for her, “My Church”, it was the perfect ending to the most flawless night. As the confetti rained down, whether you have been a fan since before her superstardom, or you were seeing Morris perform for the very first time, there was no doubt that she deserved every single moment of applause and appreciation that New York City willingly gave.
For all of the additional GIRL: The World Tour dates head to marenmorris.com.
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