Fiery electric guitar solos were prominent features in the majority of the artists’ sets at Stagecoach, and the festival’s crowning Sunday headliner, Grammy Award (and everything else)-winning singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton, was no different.
A day after performing at another star-studded event - Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday concert at the Hollywood Bowl - and a few days after launching the spring-summer 2023 version of his All American Roadshow tour, the Kentucky native closed out Stagecoach with a searing, soul-stirring 17-song set that showcased his masterful playing and evocative singing.
He took the stage with his band - including his wife, Morgane - without theatrics or even an opening hello, and got to the business at hand. Stapleton is about music - pure and simple. He doesn’t move around the stage excessively or offer up introductions to his songs.
And the fact is, Chris Stapleton is such a grounded and powerful performer, he doesn’t need to. His voice is so fully embodied, his guitar playing so skilled, and his set list made up of on-their-way-to-being-standards that it’s hard to ask for more. “We love you!” fans screamed between songs, as well as completing the chorus of opening tune ‘Nobody to Blame’ and singing along to ‘Parachute'.
The Kentucky native and his band really got cooking on ‘Second One to Know’, with the Stapletons singing eye-to-eye adding more layers of emotional depth, and everyone felt it. Chris Stapleton even offered up a “Hello” and “Man, people as far as I can see”, the bulk of the words he would say all night, before launching into ‘Starting Over’.
From then on, it was just a charging train of excellence. Stapleton opened up ‘Hard Livin’’ with what felt like a minute-long held note on “Welllllllll”. ‘Arkansas’ was a hard-charging romp, while ‘You Should Probably Leave’ was movingly heartfelt, aided again by his and Morgane’s dynamic.
She left the stage when it was time for ‘Cold’, Stapleton seemingly channeling all the pain he’s ever felt through his body and transforming it through song. It was a peak moment among many high-points produced by a real-deal, authentic-as-they-come country megastar. A fitting end to an event dedicated to the form.
Chris Stapleton - Setlist
Take from his set at Stagecoach Festival, Indio Valley, California - Sunday, April 30, 2023:
For more from Stagecoach 2023, see below: