The Kent Stage
October 24, 2019
Mat Kearney brought his City of Black & White Revisited Tour to The Kent Stage on Sunday night. The tour is celebration of the albums 10th anniversary. Mat and his two members played stripped versions of songs spanning Mat’s six studio albums. Fans packed the Kent Stage from all over Northeast Ohio, Columbus and as far as Toronto for the chance to see Mat is such a rare, intimate setting.
Mr. Kearney took the stage on his own to start with the title track, “City of Black & White," shortly after the two other band members joined him for “Fire & Rain," another track from the album the tour is celebrating. Begin an anniversary tour you’d expect the set list tobe heavy on such album but the rest of the set only featured two other numbers, “Annie” and “New York to California”which made its tour debut on the stage.
Throughout the evening Mat took every chance he had to talk to the crowd, being his first time playing in Kent he found it particularly funny that the colleges name is the Golden Flashes, he kept using it as a joke for a medical disorder, leaving towns fast. Most of which lead to a lot of laughs from the crowd. Most of the evening the crowd was respectful and quite, during the encore Mat was being ‘heckled’ to play “Coming Home (Oregon)." The gentlemen in the crowd wouldn’t stop yelling about it until Mat gave in, stating that it was the first time the song had been performed in years and the first time outside of his hometown of Portland.
The show featured the set staples “All I Need," “Undeniable," “Ships in the Night” and ended with “Nothing Left to Lose." The 21-songs, 110-minute set saw a few hiccups,"Count on Me” had to be restarted because the keyboardist played the wrong notes, which to lead to early comedy and razzing from Mat. Saying that him giving Eli a hard time was common place on this tour. And at the end of the final number Mat broke a string on his guitar playing through it like a champion who has been there a few times before.
It was an intimate, heartfelt evening and Mat’s voice sounded strong throughout, never wavering. The drums being played on drum box with the addition of shakers helped make the sound full during the full band numbers. Kearney told the crowd he did an acoustic tour once before in a small van, saying that it was special for him to be able to get back out on the road with this style of show. It was just as special for everyone in attendance.
Review by Troy Smith