Ruel• June 28, 2023• The Depot

Reviewed and Photographed by Tomo Crestani

A rare appearance here in Salt Lake did not disappoint as Ruel visited The Depot on his 4th Wall Tour. Bringing along Sam MacPherson, the night was full of amazing music and two great performances. The Depot has a very strong lineup this summer, but this show will be hard to beat. The ticket sales and the energy in the venue will be hard to match.

The Depot was a perfect option for Ruel. Although I feel he possibly could have sold out a larger venue, it was a perfect venue for him to perform at. They handled the massive line so well. As I passed the venue there was a line wrapping around the buildings next door. However, by the time I parked my car and walked over, there wasn’t a line at all. I would say it was like 15 minutes. I am always impressed with how well the security at The Depot gets through the lines. They also are making sure to pay attention to every detail to ensure our safety. This makes the speed much more impressive.

The lighting at The Depot is one of my favorites at any venue. I always find that the small stage makes for cool photos. The fact that the artist is so much closer to the ground and the lights are closer to the artist makes it look much better. The pit in between the stage and the crowd is also much smaller than other venues. Making it very easy for the artist to reach out and touch the fans. It is by far my favorite stage to shoot photos at. 

Sam MacPherson is an artist I had not heard of before. Honestly, he has to be one of the most vocally talented artists I have seen live. He had an incredible performance. There was an unreleased song he played titled “Snake Bite”, that I really enjoyed. He prefaced the song by saying that he always gets nervous to play new music, but that he feels the crowd is nice enough that even if it sucked they would clap. I thought this was funny because it is so true. Artists will always get a clap from the crowd no matter how bad the performance is. 

Although Sam’s music was amazing, my favorite part of his set was a cover he did. Telling the crowd that this song inspired him to make music in the first place, was a powerful performance. He covered Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin bout You”. I think a big part of my loving this so much was the fact that I do love Frank Ocean, however, his cover was special. He played the chorus with so much emotion. It was an incredible cover. As the anticipation built, Sam left the stage and the wait for Rule began.

Ruel is an artist I have listened to for many years, and feel like I have been there since day one. I had never seen him tour in Salt Lake City, so I was very excited when he announced he was coming here. I was also surprised to see how strong his fanbase is here. There was not an empty spot in the entire building. The standing room went all the way to the back and the upstairs looked completely full. It seems every concert I go to at the Depot is more packed than the last. But Ruel definitely is one of the busiest concerts I have seen there. 

Ruel entered the stage from the curtains in the middle of the stage. This was really cool because he is actually a very tall person. The curtains opening and seeing a 6’ 5” person walk out was something you don’t see often. The entrance was perfectly executed. He began to sing songs from his newest album but also got to some of the classics all of his fans fell in love with over the years. Ruel’s vocals were also very impressive. You could also tell there was no vocal track being played over the speakers because when he would take the microphone away from his mouth the vocals dropped. It is always cool to know the artist is singing 100% of what you are hearing live. It shows true talent.

Ruel was an incredible performer with great crowd engagement. With a couple wardrobe changes, he kept the audience on their toes with each song. It honestly felt like one of the shortest sets even though it wasn’t. I guess time flies when you enjoy the show that much. He closed his set with one of his most popular songs, “I DONT WANNA BE LIKE YOU”. It was an electric performance that had the entire venue singing every single word to the song. It was a perfect way to end the night. 

Overall I would highly recommend you find Ruel touring near you. The 4th Wall Tour is a great lineup as well with Sam MacPherson. He is a new artist I can add to my playlists. Ruel has 4 more US dates all in July, and then he heads internationally to play the rest of his shows. Hopefully he returns to the States again soon. I’m always telling people they need to see a concert at The Depot. I still feel everyone needs to try to visit The Depot. I always enjoy my nights there. Ruel was one of the best shows they have had there, but there will be plenty of good shows to come.

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