By Jason Luntz
Friday night (May 4) Grammy Award-winning soul singer Anthony Hamilton took his Back To Love tour to the historic Ryman Auditorium. Lovenoise, known for throwing some of the best neo-soul shows in the city, brought the sold out performance to Nashville.
Opening for Hamilton was local singer Typhanee Fitzgerald, who performed three original songs. She warmed up a crowd that was waiting for the headliner in anticipation.
When the lights began to dim the response from the audience was deafening. Soon after, sporting a red and black-checkered blazer along with his trademark hat, Hamilton exploded on to the stage with a cut off his new album ‘Sucka For You’. With the soul singer was a well-dressed band including drummer, guitar, bass, and three singers.
The crowd responded well as he performed other recent hits including ‘Woo’ and ‘Who’s Loving You’. He also revisited many songs from his previous albums, much to the audience’s approval.
Hamilton kept the energy on a high level throughout his show. At many times he would perform some classic pop and lock dance moves, even going as far as to include his back up singers.
The highlight of the evening was when The North Carolina native asked the crowd if they were ready to get a little “country”. After pausing to a loud applause, Hamilton began to shout out different southern states. He then took the crowd to church, rocking almost a half hour of high-energy gospel songs. The acoustics were perfect for The Ryman causing nearly everyone in attendance to jump to their feet.
It is clear that his influence comes from performers like Al Green and James Brown. Like those singers of the past, he was able to move between ballads and up-tempo songs with ease.
The diverse crowd of young, old, single, and couples, responded with excitement to each song. Hamilton was never afraid to interact with his fans, reaching down from the stage to touch as many hands as possible, and even running directly through the crowd on the upper balcony at one point.
Anthony Hamilton is the perfect singer for the smartphone age. His level of comfort and fun shined through on the hundreds of iPhones and Droids the crowd held up to record his performance.
This show was not simply a man and his microphone. It was down home soul music with a modern drive that left everyone wanting more.
Photos by: Earl Flippen Jr