Concert review: Sam Hunt w/ Brett Young and Lily Rose | 08.03.23, Banterra Center (Carbondale, IL) (with photo gallery)

Photo of Sam Hunt by Erica Vining

Country crooner Sam Hunt took the backroads straight to rural Illinois last week on his Summer On The Outskirts tour. Concert goers crowded into Banterra Center to support Hunt along with tourmates Lily Rose and Brett Young. Rose opened the night with an unreleased track and played through a several of her hits including “Villian” as well as two more unreleased tracks. Rose returned to the stage later in the night to duet “Wishful Drinking” with Sam Hunt, a catchy country-pop ballad about a hopeless romance.

Ahead of Brett Young’s entrance, I chatted with security, admitting I mostly covered rock music so this was a venture outside my norm, and I wasn’t super familiar with any of Young’s songs. I found myself chuckling by the end of the set as I knew every single song Young performed. “Mercy” (off of his eponymous album, released in 2017) was on repeat for weeks when it came out. Hearing it live was a highlight of the night, with Young’s live vocals matching his studio quality. Young played a 14-song set, playing through several hits as well as “Let Go Too Soon,” “Back to Jesus,” and “You Ain’t Here to Kiss Me” off his album Across the Sheets,which released the following day.

Hunt took the stage quickly following a set change, descending down a staircase looking oddly ethereal. While Hunt is an incredible performer on his own, his guitarist Joshua Burkett stole the show with his theatrical antics and the cocky cool aura he radiated. Slicked back bleached blonde hair paired with a half-buttoned snakeskin print shirt set him apart and I enjoyed watching his performance as much as Hunt’s. The set was full of surprises, including several songs where Hunt ventured into the crowd to take photos and interact with fans. Midway through the show, Hunt walked to the front of the house and took a seat for acoustic renditions of “Make You Miss Me” followed by “Take Your Time” and “Cop Car” before venturing back to the stage for his duet with Rose.

Summer On The Outskirts continues through September 9th, wrapping up in Raleigh, NC. | Erica Vining

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