Two of country’s hottest musicians, Chris Stapleton and Anderson East, came to Chicago for the first show of the summer on Northerly Island.

02-Jun-2016: Anderson East is a name we hear more and more, and it’s easy to see why. Since the release of his album, Delilah, in July 2015, he has been gaining increasing interest. His soulful, yet gritty, voice captivated the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion.

His presence as an opening act had enticed the crowd to show up early to catch his set as there were an impressive number of early attendees.

East was the perfect opener, getting the crowd singing, dancing, and cheering, nicely warming them up for the night ahead. There was a good number of the audience singing along, already familiar with his lyrics. Those who weren’t got to join in when he impressively rocked Rod Stewart’s “Stay With Me,” which was perfect for his gravelly voice.

Chris Stapleton is country’s man of the moment. This past year has been phenomenal for him, following the release of Traveller, which saw him sweep up at the CMAs. Back in September 2013, Stapleton performed at Joe’s Bar. Now, just short of three years later, he is filling the Northerly Island venue, an impressive feat in such a short space of time.

Stapleton has become a household name, even to those not overly familiar with his genre of music. His appeal is broad and attracts both the country faithful as well as introducing it to a new audience. It was easy to see looking at the variety of Northerly Island attendees.

After such a rise to fame, you would expect to see a larger than life presence take to the stage. Quite the contrary. Stapleton appeared humble, barely taking his eyes off his wife, Morgane, throughout the entire performance despite the 20,000+ crowd in front of him.

Morgane’s rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” is a definite highlight of the performance, showcasing her beautiful voice which blended perfectly with Stapleton’s harmonies. You will not hear another version of this classic come close.

“Fire Away” was another must-see performance and clear fan favorite, with the entire audience singing along to Stapleton’s melodic guitar accompaniment. The whole venue was filled with cheers and applause for this song, louder than any of his others.

This four-piece band may not have taken up much space on the ample stage, but they certainly had a significant presence and talent that surpassed the venue’s enclosure. Who knows what venue they’ll need to book for their next gig as they are no waning star.

Chris Stapleton
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Anderson East
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FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
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About The Author

Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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