What started out being a relaxing, chill summer concert turned into a soulful, foot-stomping extravaganza. When I first arrived, I was floored by the venue, Wolf Trap, in Vienna, Virginia. Seeing the grand stage and thinking of the wonderful acoustics got me even more hype for the evening. I was seeing Leon Bridges and Lianne La Havas, and to be honest, wasn’t really familiar with many of their songs prior to going. Getting there, I sat down on the lawn with no expectations except having a fun time.
With the lawn packed already, I could tell immediately people were excited for the opening act. Blankets were splayed out on the lawn and food brought out, and Lianne La Havas came out on stage and drew the crowd’s attention. Her presence was obvious, though quite modest as she came out on stage, something I really adored. She’s from London, and her vibe and vocals started the concert right. The music started playing and everyone started clapping.
Stories were an integral part to her performance as she often told snippets of back stories that got the listener more invested. My opinion is that people who have a deeper meaning behind their music are rare, and this showed how much of an artist she was. Usually people skip opening acts and wait for the main attraction, but without seeing her, people missed the whole show. My favorite songs by her were “Green and Gold”, a cover of “Say A Little Prayer for You”, and “Gone”. Her impeccable vocals and range and amazing grit made me appreciate her so much more. The relaxed way she played guitar and sang made it seem effortless with her runs all while getting the crowd involved. Sadly her portion was soon over, but soon Leon came out.
A bright, yellow hue illuminated the stage after the band came walking out while the crowd cheered and shouted. Leon Bridges arrived with such swag it isn’t even funny. His dance moves were something altogether, reminding me of how I dance when I’m alone in my bedroom. The opener was “Smooth Sailin’”, one of his biggest hits so far. The tempo got the crowd engaged and was the perfect choice to get the night going.
The whole night was serene as it seemed to be one giant throwback to the 1950s with incredible horns and backup vocals like never seen before. Some standout songs were “Brown Skin Girl” and my all-time favorite “Lisa Sawyer”, along with a jaw dropping performance of “River”. Seeing him play live is a whole other experience, as you really get to see the whole person and his quirky personality. Leon’s presence was magical has he commanded the stage and eventually came back on for an encore of three songs, my favorite being a cover of “My Pony” by Ginuwine, which sent me home remembering this night for a long time.