We went to the Washington State Fair – but, as locals, we will always call it the Puyallup Fair – on September 20th to catch country star, Brett Eldredge, and had the opportunity to see a couple of opening acts, Runaway June and Devin Dawson. If you have never been to the Puyallup Fairgrounds concert series, it is something that is can be a little overwhelming. Not only do you get access to the show, but if you get there early you can make a day of it and check out all that the fair has to offer from Krusty Pups (aka corn dogs) to your standard elephant ears and funnel cakes, but, you cannot forget to get Fisher’s fair scones which are freshly baked and slathered with classic raspberry jam.
The Fair in Puyallup has been around since 1900 and the Grandstand that houses the concert series is a classic stage with an infield of chairs and a bleacher section with bench style seating. It can make for a loud environment with maximum capacity of just over 10,000 fans. It is an experience, for sure.
The opener, Runaway June, is a female trio with a great sound and extremely comfortable with the audience. While we were entirely not familiar with them when we arrived, their set was so good that there is a new female band on my phone – sorry Sheryl Crow! The lead singer and guitarist Naomi Cooke was entertaining, active on the stage, and had stunning vocals. Mandolin player and singer Hannah Mulholland along with guitarist/vocalist Jennifer Wayne make up the other two parts of this great trio who lit up the audience with their first release “Lipstick” and their second hit “Wild West” among other entertaining songs, but we enjoyed the newest release, “Buy My Own Drinks”, the most which had great beat and relevant message. We would certainly buy tickets to see Runaway June when they come back again in the future as a headliner.
After a quick stage change, Devin Dawson started his set and took me by surprise. Devin Dawson is a rocker – at least that is what I was thinking as he was rocking the stage for the first few songs. I have to say his heaving hitting tracks were outstanding with a hard, heart-pounding aggressive beat. After he got us all wound up with his on stage presence reminiscent of the 1990s hard rock scene, he then moved on to his new country album, Dark Horse, and blew us away with his first single, “All On Me”. The music did not disappoint and I can not imagine it will be long before he is heard regularly on contemporary country music stations around the nation. I had heard that this album was great from start to finish and now I am looking forward to getting it. Devin Dawson earned a new fan tonight!
Of course, we were all here to see Brett Eldredge, and wow what a great show. The set was interactive and visually pleasing starting with something that looked like a scene from a Broadway show stage, with the country singer entering the scene from inside a stage mounted phone booth. So many great songs to pack into a concert, but he did tell us he was not in a hurry tonight, and the crowd loved it. When an artist is so comfortable on stage that they take the time to be real with the audience is always impressive and allows you to connect. Brett Eldredge did just that when he introduced his dog, Edgar, to the audience who treated us to a trick and a moment with with his owner, who sang a song to the pup.
Along with a list of hit songs Brett Eldredge shared an acoustic song he wrote about his grandmother called, “Raymond”, which was touching and personal about her aging. The country superstar was entertaining throughout with a great stage, light show and ended with the encore songs, “One Mississippi” and “Drunk on Your Love”. He lived up to the hype and our expectations in every way! What a great night of music!
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