BY TER STAFF
Just a day removed from the release of her highly anticipated sophomore album, Girl, country pop singer-songwriter Maren Morris kicked off her headlining Girl: The World Tour in Chicago at the city’s beautiful Riviera Theatre on Saturday night. Joined by country music’s Cassadee Pope, the all-girl tour also touched down one day after the celebrated International Women’s Day.
Setting the stage for Saturday, Morris treated her fans everywhere this week with her brand new album. Led by the album’s lead single of the same name, Girl continues to showcase Maren Morris’ diverse musical palette and is further evidence that the “80s Mercedes” isn’t your average country artist. Morris casts a wide net through her newest album, introducing country fans to outside genres, while also allowing country music to reach new ears as Morris’ success only grows.
Fast-forward 24-hours, Maren Morris’ most dedicated fans were lined up for the sold-out show before doors opened on a dreary March day in the Second City, with anticipation building and lyrics to the brand new album already memorized. And although Chicago isn’t the most typical location to kick off a major country tour, whether the choice was because of logistics or a sheer love for one of the country’s best markets, fans in attendance on Saturday couldn’t have been happier.
Up first for the night was country singer Cassadee Pope. Known first as the lead of pop punk band Hey Monday, Pope has completely branded herself after becoming the first female winner of NBC‘s The Voice. With her country career thriving, Pope is one of the most exciting emerging names in the genre. And while her debut country album, Frame by Frame, was loved by fans upon its 2013 release, Pope’s potential is truly starting to fulfill with her brand new album, Stages, which released just last month on Awake Music.
Pope has clearly gone through some well documented stages in her decade-long music career, but her current stage appears to be her best yet. Touring alongside her friend Maren Morris and picking up fans along the way, similar to Morris’ come-up touring with the likes of Keith Urban and Sam Hunt, is only going to help Cassadee Pope follow the footsteps of Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini and Kacey Musgraves in the new class of great women in country music. Pope blew us away on Saturday with her performances of “Take You Home” and “If My Heart Had a Heart”, two stand-outs from her new album.
With the crowd warmed up, Maren Morris blessed the stage to officially kick off the Girl era. Of course with Chicago being the first stop on the tour, fans came into the night with zero expectations, just cheerful faces and long wish-lists for what was to come. No Googling setlists, no Instagraming to check out the set design and certainly no watching performances on YouTube to prepare yourself. The night was already special given the proximity to the new album’s release, but going into a concert blind is feeling like nothing else.
Lucky for Chicago, and for the upcoming stops on the tour, Maren Morris checked all the boxes on our wish-lists and then some. The Grammy-award winning singer curated a setlist with the perfect mix of Girl and her 2016 debut, Hero. Her stage presence has never been better, thanks to a couple years of non-stop tours and festival performances, and her tour’s production (complete with neon stairs, bubbles filled with smoke and a giant video board) is a clear improvement from her Hero Tour, which was one of our favorite country tours from 2017. And although fans on Saturday were not privy to knowing which songs will become future hits and have the most replay value, with the large number of fans singing along to tracks from Girl, it’s clear that the LP has been on repeat since its release.
One highlight of the evening came with Morris’ live debut of “RSVP”. A new track from Girl and Maren Morris’ most sexual and fun track to date, “RSVP” has all the makings for a hit single. The song’s live performance is as fun as the track itself, and you can tell Morris was having fun on stage sharing the song with the crowd. And since Girl: The World Tour is nearly sold out in all cities, many fans across the globe will get to enjoy the performance live before the tour comes to an end in May.
Additional highlights from opening night included Morris’ performances of “Flavor”, Hero singles like “My Church” and “Rich”, her mega-successful Zedd collaboration “The Middle” and an amazing arrangement of her 2016 track, “I Could Use a Love Song”. And while she couldn’t be joined by Brothers Osborne for her track “All My Favorite People”, Cassadee Pope took a break from enjoying her friend’s performance to join Maren for the record. In total Morris performed all but one track from her brand new album, that being “Good Woman”.
To the untrained eye Maren Morris comes off as an overnight star in the country world, but after grinding for years and penning tracks for Tim McGraw, Kelly Clark, Brothers Osborne and more, and supporting a number of majors artists on the road, Maren Morris is calling her own shots and “cooking up her own flavor” on Girl: The World Tour.
If you missed out on last’s great show, fret not, because both Maren Morris and Cassedee Pope are returning to Chicago on Friday, June 21st for the Country LakeShake Festival, where they will join two other amazing female artists, Miranda Lambert and Lauren Alaina. Girl: The World Tour picks back up on Wednesday, March 13th in the hub of country music; Nashville, TN.
Get your tickets for the remaining dates of the tour here, before they’re all gone!
- The Feels
- 80s Mercedes
- A Song for Everything
- To Hell & Back
- All My Favorite People
- I Could Use a Love Song
- Make Out With Me
- Gold Love
- Great Ones
- The Bones
- My Church
- Shade (Encore)
- The Middle (Encore)