On November 19th, Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors (with special guest Ellie Holcomb) continued the trend and set up a virtual live concert event. Fans in the chat were very excited to hear the rustic and folky pairings of beautiful music and good times. String light bulbs were hanging throughout the room and the hip lighting bounced off the wooden flooring. It was a large space, but felt like a small and intimate concert just for the band and fans to gather.
Immediately after logging into the show, fans were welcoming each other in the chat and exchanging some of their favorite concert memories. There was a pre-show video that included a few ads for band merch, as well as a video that looked almost as if it were shot documentary style, of the song “Hourglass” (from the 2011 album Chasing Someday). There were links to merch below the screen and it was later revealed that the merch was specific to this show and this show only. The cool thing to think about with that is, in a few years when COVID-19 is finally over, the merch will be even more rare!
When the show started, the fans in the chat were calm, but excited. It seemed like an older demographic of people, but all still huge fans nonetheless. The show was being brought to everyone live from Ocean Way, Tennessee. The relaxed and folky feel was a theme from beginning to end and the fans were loving it. Drew Holcomb was very likeable and even from his simple stage presence, people could tell from his smile that he was enjoying every second of what he was doing.
Opening with the song “Hallelujah” from the 2008 album Passenger Seat, it was clear that the fans were in for an exciting evening. It was very laid back and calming, while at the same time just fun and easy to listen to. It felt very fitting for the simple and rustic set where they were all placed. From the very beginning, it felt like one of those late night hangouts with one’s friends all sitting around, just sitting songs that make them happy.
Following the opening, Holcomb effortlessly began right into the next song, “Love Is Magic” (Passenger Seat, 2008). About halfway through the song, Holcomb took an instrument break and introduced his band to the virtual audience. He kept playing his guitar softly, while introducing Ian Miller on the keys, Bill Sayles on the drums, Rich Brinsfield on the bass, Nate Dugger on guitar and wife, singer and instrumentalist, Ellie Holcomb as a special guest. Bringing it back after the introductions for one more chorus, “Love Is Magic” felt like one of those songs that made one want to reminisce the good old days with their friends. This really made the show feel personal right from the beginning.
Next up was a song from the 2009 album, A Million Miles Away, it was called “I Like to Be With Me, When I’m With You.” This was when the show took on that very relaxing, singer-songwritery, country feel. People couldn’t help but smile when they listened to it, and that’s exactly what Ellie Holcomb was doing when the camera panned over. It was nice, like they were genuinely just being themselves and doing something they love. It felt like a vivid story, and it was up to the listener to decide who they wanted it to be about.
There was also a very nice vibe of the feeling of falling in love during the show. A few of the songs, like the next one in the set, “But I’ll Never Forget the Way You Make Me Feel” from the 2019 album Dragons, really emphasized this idea of love. Ellie actually took the lead and sang a bit of the song, and just before starting she said “if you happened to dance to this song at your wedding, this song goes out to you.” It was very special and felt romantic. There was definitely a sense of wholesome and genuine love that came with this song. Ellie Holcomb is very talented with spot on harmony’s and melody’s that match Drew perfectly.
The mood of the concert shifted and stayed with the more calm and collected, low and slow feel. It was a shift that felt very homey and nice. Towards the middle of the concert, Drew and Ellie played the song, “Magnolia Tree” (A Million Miles Away, 2009) together while the rest of the band stepped away. Drew explained that this was a song he had written for Ellie when they were dating. This song kept up with the love theme and feeling that had been established earlier in the show. It was very tender and the fans in the chat agreed it was one of their favorite moments of the show.
Another favorite moment, and a fan favorite (from all the positive buzz in the chat), was when they played the song “Fire and Dynamite” (Passenger Seat, 2008 and Chasing Someday, 2011). It was easy to see why this song was a fan favorite. It was full of soulful and relatable lyrics, as well as one of those catchy hooks that really reminds people of someone special in their life. The fans in the chat were typing some of the lyrics along, it was like they were singing along too.
The last two songs rounded out the show nicely. The last one they all played together as a band was “The Morning Song” (Souvenir, 2017), and the very last song, Drew played by himself; that song was “Wild World” (Souvenir, 2017). It was a nice wrap up to an evening of easy listening and hanging out. This last tune was a nice, uplifting song that really brought things back to the simple idea that “love is all we’ve got to give away” and no one quite understands this world, but people are all living it together, so be kind to one another. Lyrically, this one hit it right on the mark for positivity.
This concert was one that really put the fans and all who watched in a good mood. A fan had commented “so glad this happened. I really needed it.” It was a nice break from the everyday stresses and no matter where people were watching from, it was one of those shows that felt unifying and intimate. With a simple “thank you,” and a nod, the screen faded to black and fans were sending heart emojis in the chat. It was an experience that was calming and positive for all involved. Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors put on a show that resulted in smiles and lifted spirits all around.
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schulz