Photos and Words: Valerie Ryan
The spectacular Orion Amphitheater holds a special place in my heart within Huntsville. Its flawless acoustics and panoramic views make every performance an unforgettable experience. Over the years, renowned artists, like Jason Isbell, have lauded its splendor. Jason’s return for the second consecutive year under the starry 75° night attested to The Orion’s allure.
As the opening act, Billy Allen and the Pollies, took the stage, I couldn’t help but recognize the lead singer from his previous smaller gigs. Tonight, however, the band’s jam band blues style, showcasing their remarkable talent, was a pure treat for the ears. Their soulful rock performance, accentuated by Billy’s powerful vocals, firmly secured their place as the highlight of the evening for me.
Margo Price’s appearance was equally captivating, with her versatile skills on full display, transitioning from country to funky rock with ease. Her harmonica melodies reverberated through the amphitheater, leaving me in awe of her diverse abilities and stage presence, solidifying her well-deserved spot on the tour.
Finally, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit took the stage, delivering a fresh blend of Americana, weaving together elements of blues, country, rock, and folk. The keyboard prowess of Derry DeBorja, accompanied by his accordion serenade, added a unique charm to the performance. With an energetic and passionate vibe, they even delighted long-time fans with the inclusion of “Decoration Day” from the DBT era, leaving a lasting impression on the enthusiastic crowd.
Reflecting on this unforgettable night, I realized how certain bands can truly captivate one’s heart only when experienced live, and this was one such moment for me. Their intoxicating and emotionally charged music, coupled with their beautifully crafted songwriting, left an indelible mark, making this evening truly delightful.