It was a day long adventure for us. Neither one of us had ever visited Charlottesville before, and the 2 and a half hour drive was scenic, with beautiful farmland, great landscapes, and even a couple glimpes of the mountains. I even saw a Tastee Freeze in person! And I thought they only existed in Trisha Yearwood songs!
Once we arrived to Charlottesville and found parking, we were immediately charmed by the Historic Downtown section of the city, where the Jefferson Theatre happens to be located. We spent about an hour walking through the open courtyard and browsing the various boutiques and open air restaurants. The city was brimming with couples having romantic dinners, as well as happy college students. It was a truly beautiful atmosphere, and we really enjoyed experiencing the local flavor of the town.
Once we arrived at the Jefferson Theatre and picked up our tickets, we were immediately struck by how absolutely stunning this old building is. The Jefferson has been around since the early 1900's, and has hosted performances by legends such as Harry Houdini and The Three Stooges, just to name a couple. The architecture and grandiosity of the theatre was breathtaking, and we knew we were in for a fantastic performance, as the venue was clearly designed to provide amazing acoustics.
Take a look! We were not allowed to use the flash, so many of my photos didn't turn out well. I did get a few showing just how spectacular our surroundings were.
Anyway, as we were having our drinks and waiting for the show to start, we actually got to talk to some of the venue staff and even a local Charlottesville radio DJ. Everyone was super excited about Mat Kearney visiting Charlottesville. The DJ I spoke to informed me that this was Mat Kearney's first visit to the city, and that the turnout was absolutely amazing, since he would be playing for a full house. The mood was electric as we all waited for the headlining act to begin. There was a good mix of people at the show, too. It was mostly college kids from UVA, but there were also middle aged people in attendance as well. Everyone was friendly, cheerful, and ready to see a great show.
Finally, Mat Kearney took the stage. From the first song, I was blown away by just how much raw talent Mat possesses. His voice is smooth and mellow, and he has an astounding vocal range. He also puts a lot of emotion into his singing, which was evident by his soulful performance. Mat also switched seamlessly between an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, and piano. (Like I said, he's one talented individual!) Many of the songs were upbeat and fun, and the audience was dancing, singing along, and really feeling the music. I was impressed how Mat Kearney could go from a fun, upbeat song to a mellower, slower ballad type song without missing a beat.
Mat and his band had a wonderful, almost effortless energy about them, and it was clear that they truly enjoyed what they were doing. He was friendly, and engaged the audience in a lot of conversation. It was almost as if he were talking with friends, which gave the concert a more personal feel than a lot of shows I have attended in the past. Mat even jumped into the crowd and made his was all the way to the upstairs balcony, greeting the fans who were seated at the bar tables, all while singing. It was pretty cool to see how engaged he was with the audience. He was about 5 feet away from us at one point!
Here are some photos I got of the performance.
Seeing Mat Kearney was a rare treat because it's not too often that one gets to experience the presence of a true musician. Sure, there are plenty of performers out there, but not many can put on such a technically flawless show, engage the audience, and switch so seamlessly between instruments that way Mat can. And his musical style is a great mix of upbeat, basic rock feeling tunes and mellower, more relaxing tunes. Mat's voice is phenomenal, and I wish I had the chance to interview him and find out what his musical influences are. His sound is truly unique.
The only negative of the evening? There were 2 girls directly in front of us, presumably incredibly intoxicated college students, that were basically putting on an "adult show". This was distracting, and we ended up opting to move to another location so we could focus on the show that was intended. Unfortunately, this also meant we didn't have as good a view of the stage.
Thanks so much to the One2One Network for allowing us to review this amazing show, and giving us our first real date night in a VERY long time. We had a wonderful time, and hope to see Mat next time he comes to our local area. So check your local concert venues or visit Mat Kearney's website to check for a tour date near you! It's definitely a show worth seeing!
***Disclosure: I received complimentary concert tickets for review purposes from the One2One Network, which I am a member of. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***