Elle King

Elle King• w/ Tanner Usrey• April 25, 2023• The Union

Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

The Union Events Center in Salt Lake City was pulsating with energy on the night of April 25, 2023, thanks to the arrival of the one and only Elle King on her A-Freakin’-Men Tour. As soon as the doors opened, fans flooded in, eager to witness the power and intensity of this exceptional performer.  Elle was scheduled to perform in Salt Lake City earlier in the year but was forced to reschedule due to severe weather between Denver and SLC.  We were happy that she had an open date.  Utah and Elle King have developed a strong relationship in recent years.  She performed at last year’s Fort Desolation Fest and will be returning to Salt Lake City this summer with Melissa Etheridge as part of Red Butte Garden’s Outdoor Summer Concert Series.

Tanner Usrey

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

First up was Tanner Usrey.  He took the stage alone with a guitar.  He immediately showed the audience his strong vocals and the audience was instantly engaged.  Soon the rest of his band joined him on stage and the set was off and running.  I would describe Tanner and his band as having a Country Rock sound with Usery himself having Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes-like vocals.

One of my favorite moments in the set was when Tanner covered the Rod Stewart classic, “Stay With Me”.  It took me a moment to recognize the song because Usrey and his crew made the song their own.  The crowd loved this cover as much as I did. They sang out as their voices rang through The Union Event Center.  I love when bands, especially opening bands play a cover.  I think the familiarity of a song draws an audience in and in my opinion, it gets them to listen to the original songs more intently.  

Tanner Usrey was the perfect opener for Elle King.  He got the crowd going and I can see him playing The Stage Room sometime in the future. I think his style of music has a fanbase here in Utah, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes back soon.  I was really impressed. 

Elle King

From the moment Elle stepped onto the stage, she commanded attention with her raw talent and electrifying presence. The crowd was instantly captivated by her soulful voice, powerful lyrics, and unparalleled energy.  She brought her A-Freakin’-Men tour to The Union not only to make good on a postponement she had made from an earlier tour stop, but it was a perfect place to do a warm up gig before her set at the Stagecoach Music Festival in Indio, California just a few days later.

Elle’s setlist was a carefully crafted selection of her greatest hits, showcasing her range and versatility as an artist. The show had a party atmosphere.  There was a casual, fun nature to the show.  In some ways it felt like I was watching Elle hang out with a bunch of friends.  She effortlessly transitioned from the bluesy, foot-stomping rhythms of “Ex’s & Oh’s” to the soulful, stripped-down acoustics of “Good Thing Gone.”

Throughout the concert, Elle was in constant motion, moving around the stage with ease and connecting with her fans on a personal level. She shared storie making everyone feel like they were part of her inner circle. One funny moment she addressed a particularly excited fan in the front of the crowd.  She had been singing along to all the songs and Elle said, “Look at the lungs on you!”. Then mentioning the high altitude.  

The atmosphere was electric, with fans swaying, dancing, and singing along to every song. The Union Events Center was a sea of arms swaying in unison, phones raised high, capturing every moment of this unforgettable night. Everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.  Even the crew.  One roadie brought Elle King a mandoline. Elle started danging back and forth with him.  Then they played a quick game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors” for who got the mandolin.  King must have one because she ended up with it.  It just showed the continued light hearted nature of the night.  

Elle King showed her gratitude to the audience.  After all her success still marveling at the crowd she drew here in Salt Lake City.  “The fact that anyone wants to come anywhere to see me is weird as shit to me!”.  She finished her main set with “I’m Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home).  At times you could barely hear Elle King due to the volume of the crowed.  It was a perfect set closer.  There was no chance this audience was going to let Elle leave without an encore.

Elle returned to inviting the crowd to assist her with “America’s Sweetheart”.  They had plenty of voice left to help with the request.  Elle King’s concert at The Union Events Center in Salt Lake City on April 25, 2023, was a truly an entertaining experience. Her powerhouse vocals, soulful lyrics, and electric energy made for an unforgettable night that left every fan in attendance buzzing with excitement and wanting more. If you ever have the opportunity to see her live, do not hesitate. It is an experience you will never forget.

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