Old Crow Medicine Show•July 13, 2023•Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater
Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe
Old Crow Medicine Show opened the 2023 Deer Valley Concert Series at the Snow Park Outdoor Concert Series a the Deer Valley Resort in Park City on July 13, 2023. It was a perfect evening to have the Americana band in Park City. It was a very hot day in the Salt Lake and Utah valleys. Park City is always a great place to escape to when it gets too hot. It’s always cooler. The night air was crisp, but the music on stage was as hot as the day was. Last year the concert series had a limited run so I was unable to make it to a show last year. The moment I parked my car and began walking to the venue, I knew as I took in the beautiful scenery that it was so good to be back.
Old Crow Medicine Show is one of those bands that must be witnessed live. Don’t get me wrong, they sound fantastic on their albums. But the studio recordings just don’t do these guys justice. Seeing these guys in concert is an entirely different experience. It’s impossible to not be entertained. The night covered all five senses. The sound was obviously taken care of by the music. It was difficult to focus on one member of the band because each member was doing something entertaining. I was looking all over that stage. The hitting of our hands and the stomping of our feet covered touch. And the smell and taste of all the good food people brought with them on the mountain filled out all the senses. It was incredible to take all of that in.
Frontman, Ketch Secor seemed to set the tone for the level of energy that was set for the evening. Secor and the entire band came out guns blazing! Half of the band were wearing Pit Vipers (sunglasses), and it was later mentioned that they were sponsored by them. Although I’m pretty confident that was said tongue and cheek. Ketch not only took the lead on most of the vocals, but he was almost an emcee for the evening. Introducing songs, telling stories, jokes, and talking up other members of the band. He was super talented, and also really funny.
Each band member had their time to shine. Most of the guys took turns on lead vocals and not one of them stuck to one instrument. Each time I’d look at a guy he’d be playing something else. The talent in this band was stunning. They are having such a good time on stage and don’t take too themselves seriously, so it’s easy to forget just how talented they are.
Ketch Secor told a story of the first time Old Crow Medicine Show played in Utah. You might think Salt Lake City would be their first stop. And if not SLC maybe Provo or at least, Logan or St. George. But the audience had to laugh when Secor told us that their first show was in Price, Utah of all places. I’d love to know more details about how that show was booked and how the show actually went. I’m glad they eventually made their way to Salt Lake City, and of course to have made their Park City debut at Deer Valley.
Old Crow Medicine Show played an excellent mix of songs. From some of my favorite OCMS songs like, “Tell It to Me” and “Take Em Away” to some great covers like, “Proud Mary”, “Great Balls of Fire”, and “Honky Tonk Woman”. I was really excited to hear one of my favorites, “Take Me Back to Virginia”. I’m not sure how often they play it, but when they started it I wasn’t the only one who was excited to hear it. So hopefully it’s a staple in their set.
There were so many fun moments in this show. One, in particular, was when the band had a dance contest. They played a song and told the crowd to go for it and they’d get a prize. The Deer Valley audience took this seriously even though Old Crow Medicine Show hinted that the prize was not going to be very impressive. The ski slope now concert venue was met with thousands of dancing fans. People really went for it. Ultimately, and justifiably the gift went to a young boy up front. He was rewarded with a t-shirt from the merch stand.
During “Lord Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise”, they told us to meet them at the Weber River with our rafts and tubes and we’d have an after-party there. It was just little references to the area in their jokes, stories, and sometimes song lyrics that continually drew this crowd into the show.
It’s no secret that the highlight of the entire evening was when OCMS played their signature song, “Wagon Wheel”. The uptick in crowd energy was noticeable. Not only with the audience who definitely wanted to hear the song, but also with Old Crow Medicine Show who has played this song thousands of times. This band looks like they are having the time of their lives. “Wagon Wheel” is such a great song. The happiness it brough this crowd was intoxicating. I looked all over and people were singing as loud as they could. People were singing to each other, to the band, and some were just in their own moment singing to themselves with their eyes closed. However they wanted to experience this song, they were doing it. The music rang throught the trees and through the mountains. The Wasatch Mountains almost felt Appilacian for a second there.
If you like being entertained for two hours with good live music, this is a must-see show. I mean they took their bows to “Thank You For Being a Friend”, The Golden Girls’ theme song! What more needs to be said? In fact, I should have started this review by saying that and you’d know just how awesome these guys are. I will see them every time they stop by Utah. More concerts need to be like this. The love they have for performing is something everyone who gets to do this for a living should strive for.