Hunter Hayes: Live at the Times Union Center

On October 31, I went to see Hunter Hayes live in concert at The Times Union Center in Albany. We arrived there at about 6:00 in order to make sure we were towards the front of the line. It wasn’t very crowded when we got there, but the concert didn’t start until 7. We had Meet and Greet tickets so at 6:15 we were called down to Section 101 and lined up. The concert staff were very polite and they quickly moved us into the Meet and Greet area. The M&G coodinator spoke to us for a moment and then Hunter walked in, he went through the line of people, giving hugs, taking pictures, and taking a moment with each person to talk to them and thank them for coming. When it got to be my turn, he signed my CD and seemed genuinely happy to talk about the music. After we had gone through the line, we were guided back into the arena and pointed towards our seats by the security.
The show started promptly at 7, although by the time we reached our seats, the first opener, The Railers, we already half way through their set. They had great on stage energy and brought good energetic vibes to the performance. Our seats were directly to the left of the stage, so we were very close to the performers. There was mutual adoration between the band and the crowd for the experience and for music– the crowd reverberated with real energy and you could see the happiness on the band members’sweaty faces.
The next opener was the duo Dan and Shay. They were well known artists and the crowd definitely seemed to engage in their music. They came out dressed as Ninja Turtles, because, “Somebody’s gotta have fun on Halloween!” according to Dan. They immediately jumped into their song “Stop, Drop and Roll” which got the crowd jumping and screaming. Their set lasted for about 45 minutes and they played their songs “Nothing Like You”, “First Time Feeling”, and “Show You Off”, among others. They continuously ran up and down the “runways” built into the stage, reaching out to give fans high-fives, and singing, it seemed, directly to certain people. They stopped every couple songs to give a back-story for a certain song, or just to talk for a minute. They ended with their hit single, “19 You and Me” and then laughingly said goodbye with Shay narrating their activity, “Exit on stage left.”
There was a thirty minute intermission in which the stage crew switched sets and set up for Hunter. I took this chance to look at the crowd. The arena was not packed but there were definetly a lot of people there. The standing-room only “pit” was jam packed. The roadies and crew worked quickly, moving guitars, drums, sound equipment and lights. Within minutes of the “all-clear” thumbs up from the stage manager, the lights went out, the stage lit up, and Hunter Hayes’ voice was suddenly audible. He ran onstage from the back, and wielding his guitar, played a couple short solos before taking a minute to speak to the crowd. He asked us, as all performers do, “ARE YOU EXCITED ALBANY?!?” His response was an extremely loud roar from the crowd and they dropped into the first song “Secret Love,” ending it with a mind blowing extended guitar solo. He played a succession of songs, taking a brief moment in between to give a little piece of “backstory” on each one. After the playing of “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” “Secret Love”, and “Storm Warning,” among others, he took a moment to show his gratitude to the Railers and Dan and Shay. This was just the beginning of what was to be a two hour performance, in which he invited Dan and Shay and the Railers back onstage to cover the Train song “Hey Soul Sister.” They ended with the song that gave the tour its name- “Tattoo.” An encore was called and he and the band returned to the stage to perform two songs, one being his hit single, “I Want Crazy.” Covered in sweat, he took selfies with screaming fans and give high fives as he made his way backstage.
Considering that we were very close to the stage, and could easily see the expressions on the artists’ faces, the $47.50 paid for my ticket was more than worth it. I didn’t buy my ticket, but in fact, I would, without doubt, be willing to spend my own money to see the concert again. The performers, venue, and experience were high quality, professional, and very enjoyable and I highly recommend these individuals.