Photos + Review: Haley Reinhart at Varsity Theater (Minneapolis, MN)

Haley Reinhart (Wheeling, IL), Dan Rodriguez (Minneapolis, MN)
June 13th, 2016
Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, MN

Anybody that knows me even a little bit knows I’m a metalhead. That’s where my main interests lay and is the music I listen to most. I do dabble into classical and pop sometimes, but with pop I usually stick to a few certain artists. When I do find a pop artist though I tend to go all in with them. I did it with Lady Gaga, and now with Haley Reinhart.

Haley Reinhart was back on American Idol back in 2010 and was the third place winner. That season also happened to be the last season I ever really paid attention to that show, and I remember really liking Haley then too. I definitely thought she should have won over Scotty McCreery. Over the years though I admittedly had forgotten about her until I was looking at upcoming concerts and recognized her name. My first live pop concert ever, and first all ages show in a really long time? My interest was piqued.

I only found out about the opening act the day of, which ended up being Dan Rodriguez, and he was amazing. It was just him and his guitar up there on stage, but he was so calm, cool and funny. He called on the crowd to “pretend” to cheer when beginning a song so that we could make him feel good about about room full of people cheering for himself. That kind of narcissistic humor in concerts is hard to pull off but it was super endearing in his case. I’ll definitely be a fan of his for a long time now, especially since he’s a local guy.

The first thing Haley’s set reminded me of was actually John Mayer. I went to seen John Mayer live back in 2009 and was majorly impressed back then. I liked his work and highly respected him as a guitar player, but that was about it. In concert though, he toured with a full band and they ended up playing amazingly together, often turning his three to four minute songs into long improv jam sessions. A bit less focus on jam sessions with Haley and that describes her show Monday night pretty well. I’m super happy that it wasn’t just Haley singing along to a backing track; all parts of the songs were played live.

Haley and her band played through 15 songs, mostly from her new album Better (it is a tour in support of that album after all), which all sound great on CD, but translate really well live. There’s something special about seeing pop/funk/blues/jazz played live that give those songs more impact. I’ve been a fan of the covers Haley has done of 2000’s pop songs, so I was disappointed she didn’t do “Oops…I Did It Again,” but she and her band did even better with an amazing cover of “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden. Was not expecting them to play one of my favorite songs but Haley and keyboardist Jacob Luttrell absolutely killed it. Highlight of the whole concert.

While metal shows will always be my preference to what I want to go to, I’ll almost always be open to going to the majority of live shows. I liked Haley Reinhart before seeing her live, but she still impressed me with how good live she is. She’s the real deal so go out (along with a ton of other people: the place was packed!) and see her if you ever get the chance.

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