Ryan Beatty

Ryan Beatty • March 8, 2024 • The Grand at The Complex

Reviewed and Photographed by Josilyn Wakkuri Lybbert

Ryan Beatty brought his 2024 North American Calico Tour to The Grand at The Complex in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 8th! It was his first time doing a show in Utah, and his excited fans lined up as early and a few hours before the night’s events and filled up the space inside the venue quickly once the doors opened!

When I arrived inside of the venue, there was a palpable sense of anticipation from the fans, yet they maintained a mellow and relaxed vibe. A venue worker jokingly remarked, “I came to take a peek at the rowdy crowd!” and then mentioned that because of the audience’s well-behaved demeanor, he predicted that it would be an easy night for venue staff and security.

With no opening act joining him for this tour, Ryan Beatty’s set got started right away! When the lights went down, a member of the band stepped on stage, sat down at a piano, and began to play a beautiful melody. That continued for a few minutes until the pianist was joined by a handful of other band members who assembled in a semi-circle formation that spanned across the stage. Soon, the man of the night, Ryan,  took the stage in the middle of the band surrounding him. Continuing with the unique set up of the night, he slipped on a pair of headphones and took a seat. Between the lay out of the stage and low lights glowing, the atmosphere of the show felt very intimate and calming from the get go.

The first song of the night was, “Ribbons,” which was a heartbreakingly beautiful song. The crowd sang along in a quiet, hushed tone, fully absorbed in every note.  I was instantly in awe of Ryan’s phenomenal voice. It was strong but so smooth. Mixed with his skillful band, every single song sounded so effortlessly beautiful!

“Cinnamon Bread,” seemed to be a fan favorite as enthusiastic squeals rippled throughout the crowd when the song started.  The crowd was louder during, “Haircut,” as they sang out, “It starts right now” along with Ryan Beatty. Along with here was a collective head bob or sway that fans took on along to this song that had a fun, funk style backbeat. The band was equally feeling it as much as the crowd.

Fans were so excited when, “Powerslide,” began. Between the moving chords of the piece being played on the piano and Ryan’s vocals, the musicality of the song was magical! The crowd yelled out some of the lyrics in chorus louder than others and created sort of an echo effect. They were so in sync with each other, you would’ve thought they had rehearsed all together before the show!

I noticed that people really seemed to be in the moment at this show. There were noticeably less phones in the air recording than I typically see at any given show, not because they weren’t enjoying themselves – I think it was the opposite of that! I think that the fans were so present and totally enthralled with what was taking place in front of them!

During, “Bruises Off The Peach,” everyone was singing along. It was an endearing song, and I thought that the line, “I cut all the bruises off the peach, not as beautiful, but still as sweet,” could take on so many validating meanings. Ryan Beatty noticed the fans’ powerful singing during that one and said, “You sound beautiful.”

You could tell every band member on stage was not only good at what they did, but they were LOVING what they were doing up there! They and Ryan jammed out well together and really felt the music, no matter the tempo of the song, they clearly felt everyone

“Hunter,” left me speechless. I feel like the quick note I jotted down during the song sums it up well: “Tranquil, peaceful, a modern day lullaby.” It painted a beautiful scene not only with his lyrics and voice, but the music backing him as well. Towards the end, the pace of the song kept changing, which added another whimsical, intriguing element to it! 

Thank you all for being here, seriously, “I say it every night, and I try to find another word for it, but it really is a dream come true.” He continued and mentioned that it was his first show in Salt Lake City, to which someone in the crowd yelled, “Come back!” Ryan said with sincerity, “I will, I’ll come back.” People were really feeling, “White Teeth,” and it got them dancing even though it was a slower-paced tune!

After a cover of Dolly Parton’s, “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?” that Ryan made completely his own, he said, “This is our last song. Sing it with me if you feel inspired to, everybody.”  While he performed the emotion-packed song, “Little Faith,” the venue was so quiet that you could hear the ceiling fan spin as people savored the last moments of the awe-inspiring show.

Prior to the concert, I wasn’t familiar with Ryan’s music, but I did listen to a few of his songs on the way to the show. I was immediately impressed by his vocals and the peaceful feel of his music, so my expectations were high for his live performance. Ryan Beatty’s SLC stop of his calico tour far exceeded my expectations for the night! As I raved about throughout this recap of the show, his vocals were stunning, impressive, and one of the best I’ve ever heard live, and his band was filled with skillful, diverse talent. The show will certainly go down as one of my favorites, and it seemed like those who were there too would agree! Come back soon, Ryan and co.!

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