• Review

REVIEW: Vance Joy at Kemba Live!

Last night was filled with great music, better lyrics, and lots of winter coats. Vance Joy treated the Kemba Live! venue with his first Columbus show in five years. This show, along with many of his other North American dates, was sold out. Hundreds of people poured inside at 7 pm when the doors opened. The Long Way Home tour highlights songs from his new album, In Our Own Sweet Time, as well as his older hits.

At 8, Jack Botts set the tone with impressive acoustic guitar picking that left jaws on the floor and bodies swaying. I think his set was great, though I may be biased, as his biggest fan was singing and dancing to all of his songs next to me. Botts’ first few songs supplied percussion that was felt in your chest and lyrics that were felt in your heart. Botts mentioned that memories of this show were not all he was taking with him— he also managed to score a pair of Blue Jacket socks from the hockey game this week. His best song was a toss-up between his fun cover of John Mayers song "Queen of California" and his song "Polaroid." The descriptive lyrics and beautiful harmonies resulted in me adding "Polaroid" to my playlist while the concert was still going on. After his set, he stuck around his merchandise table to take pictures and talk to any fans. If you were wondering, yes, the guy next to me did get a photo and bought them a beer!

At 9:15, a six-person band took the stage as "Missing Piece" rang out just a bit louder than the crowds cheering. Vance Joy’s clean vocals were only topped by his guitar skills. It was surreal hearing riffs I’ve attempted hundreds of times perfected live on stage.

The stage had a fun, earthy set and colorful lights that matched the feel of each song. Two band members switched between a trumpet, a trombone, and a saxophone. I’m a sucker for a horn section, so they were my favorite part of the show. Vance Joy shared that his fourth song, "Every Side of You," was one of the first songs he wrote during the pandemic and what kickstarted his new album. A few songs later, he brought out his ukulele for the fan-favorite "Saturday Sun." After this upbeat and horn-filled song, the band left the stage, and we were treated to three songs Vance Joy played acoustically. These songs proved that his upper register is as good in person as on the album. The band was then brought out to finish the show with six more songs. The ukulele made its final appearance with Vance Joy’s most famous hit, "Riptide." The last two songs allowed the crowd to showcase their Australian accents alongside Vance Joy.

Overall, the show was incredible and had me debating making the drive to Chicago to see it again.