Morgan Wade• March 15, 2023• The Commonwealth Room
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
Morgan Wade is a country singer on the rise. She self released her first album Puppets With My Heart in 2018. Despite pandemic restrictions she’s continued to steadily make her assent into Country Music stardom. In 2021 Wade released Reckless and had subsequently continued releasing singles and acoustic versions of songs. She is currently nominated for a CMT Award in the Breakthrough Female Video of The Year category for her video of “Wilder Days”. Morgan Wade sold out The Commonwealth Room here in Salt Lake City on March 15, 2023. I feel like it might be the last time we see her in such an intimate venue for a long while.
The song “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails played as Morgan Wade took the stage to an array of flashing lights. The pulsing beat of that song electrified the room. The song faded and Wade began her set with “Don’t Cry” from Reckless. My initial excitement was for the Motley Crüe Dr. Feelgood tour shirt Wade was rocking. I don’t care if it was new or vintage, it was a cool shirt. Wade is most certainly a Country Singer, but the rock elements to her music can’t be denied.
Wade didn’t spend much time talking with the band. She had a very casual nature about her on that stage. She seemed so easygoing, making her way to different sides of the stage and switching on and off playing guitar. Sometimes when an artist doesn’t talk much to an audience I worry if there’s a distance between the crowd and the artist. So I spent a little time making my way around the room watching the crowd’s reaction (I promise it wasn’t as creeping as that might have just sounded!). I can report that the lack of conversation with the crowd did not hinder the connection that was being made between Morgan and this attentive audience.
Morgan Wade will be releasing a new album soon. She seamlessly weaved some songs from the upcoming LP into her set. I think songs like “Alanis” and “Fall In Love With Me” will be very popular songs in the upcoming release. She also played the single “The Night” and its b-side “The Night Part 2”. This went over really well with the audience. A woman next to me looked at me and said, “She’s doing “The Night Part 2”! This is my first time seeing Morgan live so I wasn’t sure if that was unique to her set to do both parts.
The songs are about mental health and the lyrics are very moving. I could feel it within the crowd. It seems like it would be vulnerable for Wade to sing these songs. I admire her for releasing these songs. Without saying much in between songs, she clearly connects with her audience with songs like these.
Morgan played “Run”, “Take Me Away”, and “Northern Air”. “Take Me Away” is my favorite Morgan Wade song. I loved hearing the song live. Wade is from Floyd, Virginia. A town I’ve been to many times. They have this incredible music festival called Floyd Fest. It’s such a unique town and the festival matches everything about that town. It was there that Wade got the additional attention she needed to advance her career. For some reason, during “Take Me Away” I thought about Morgan Wade in random Floyd, Virginia being discovered and how far she’s come in her relatively short career. I was happy to see her in Salt Lake City. It made me nostalgic for the Appalachian Mountains.
A really fun part of the show was when Morgan played a mashup of “Your Love” by The Outfield and “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield. It was totally unexpected. But so much fun. Wade gave her band a break. She told us that instead of doing an encore she’d play some songs on her own. I think that is a more than acceptable trade-off.
The night began winding down with a beautiful performance of “Carry Me Home”. The entire night was a showcase of how remarkable Wade’s voice is, but no more than during this song. Knowing there is even more Morgan Wade music is an exciting thing to think about. If they are anything like “Carry Me Home” or the show closer, “Wilder Days”, Wade is in good shape. It was clear that there was great anticipation for “Wilder Days”. The way the song builds to the release of the chorus seemed to be just what the crowd wanted. People were dancing and singing. And by dancing I mean country swing-style dancing. I don’t know how they found the room but they did. One man even had an oxygen tank strapped to him. But he wasn’t going to keep that from dancing with his wife. It was a sight to see!
Something I’ve never seen before was following “Wilder Days”, Morgan Wade went to the front of the stage and signed posters, albums, shirts, and hats while her band played “Running Down A Dream” by Tom Petty. People did not want this show to end so that little extra was a perfect way to close things out. Great show! It was exciting to see this emerging artist before she reaches her full potential. We wish he the best on her CMT Award nom and look forward to her return to Utah.