So I packed my car and headed east…

…to see Mat Kearney in concert.

A few months ago, the awesome folks at One2One Network sent me a message asking if I’d like to go see Mat Kearney in concert. I think it took me thirty seconds to respond and say, “Um. Yeah. Absolutely.”

I’d seen Mat perform earlier this year in Nashville at Blissdom and loved his set then (including the cover of “Dancing in the Dark” he performed with Michelle Branch – even though I don’t like that song, otherwise).

I loved his set so much that way back when I was still taking guitar lessons (OH I MISS GUITAR LESSONS), I opted to learn “Nothing Left To Lose” one week (okay, like two weeks) because I really love the song.

AND THEN, I had the opportunity to review Mat’s album, Young Love, back in September and I enjoyed it. A lot. “Learning to Love Again” is still my favorite track from that album, by the way.

In addition to giving “Young Love” several rotations on my iPod (rotations? That’s probably not the right word in the digital age), I was familiar with Mat’s popular singles: “Breathe In Breathe Out” , “Closer To Love” and “Nothing Left To Lose” but not so familiar that I was in rabid-fan-singing-every-word mode (don’t get me wrong – I love rabid fan mode. There’s nothing more awesome that seeing a band you love performing live and singing every word and dancing your face off). It was a different experience for me – I usually only invest in concert tickets when I am a rabid fan, and since One2One gave me these tickets (disclaimer: You can give me free tickets, but my opinion is still my own) it was an entirely different concert experience: I love the artist but there were still many unknowns for me.

Mat Kearney is an energetic performer and he kicked off his set with a high energy song. The concert was at the St. Andrews in Detroit – and the standing room only environment meant that I was on a balcony (I thought a lot about my odds of falling through the railing, though clearly I’m an idiot who has issues with heights – and also, more obviously: I did not fall), and when the music started, that hall got LOUD!

I loved the numbers where Mat played the acoustic rather than electric guitar (what? Like you’re surprised?) and at times wished that last night’s set had been a little more stripped down, a la his performance in Nashville when I first saw him.

My favorite part of the set was when, mid-song, Mat wandered into the crowd, singing, giving hugs and high fives to his fans (Not me, though, I wasn’t on the floor. I was too busy clinging to the railing trying to not fall). I’ve only seen one other performer do this (Michael Franti, I’m lookin’ at you) and I really REALLY love when artists do this – it makes people feel connected to get to touch musician sweat and to not feel that there’s some unbridgeable distance. I wonder if it skeeves the singers out, random people touching ’em – but that’s for them to worry about, not me.

I LOVED when he went into the crowd – and they loved it too.

Mat Kearney is an awesome musician – I love his voice and I love his music. Was it the most exciting concert ever? Well… no. I prefer in concerts for the band to knock a new spin on the favorites we already know – when a song that you’ve committed to memory is performed in a completely new way during a live show, it’s an exhilarating experience (Counting Crows are great at this – I’ve never heard them do a song the same way twice, and I’ve seen them live several times now). I wish there had been a little more variation in this performance – a break from hearing the songs the way I’m used to – but, did it make me love him any less?


If every building falls
If every star fades
We’ll still be singing this song
The one they can’t take away…

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. So glad you got to go Mat’s concert! Thanks for your review!

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