Kacey Musgraves at the Georgia Theatre on October 17

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Kacey Musgraves visited Athens for a sold-out debut performance at the Georgia Theatre on Oct. 17.

Before she emerged from the curtain, the lights dimmed and allowed for the audience to get a good look at the multiple neon cacti and her signature arrows adorning the stage. Her all-male band members filed out, each wearing a western style suit fashioned with lights. Finally, Musgraves glided out from the curtain, looking as tranquil as one could ever possibly look, wearing a red plaid shirt and white fringe miniskirt complete with her signature white cowgirl boots. There was no ostentatious grand entrance. In true Musgraves fashion, she began strumming her guitar and immediately went into the show.

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Upon entering the stage, she launched into “Silver Lining” – not the most obvious song to begin with, but the audience didn’t seem to mind. Musgraves mentioned she hadn’t had much time in the studio, so she would mostly be playing her album, Same Trailer Different Park. Once again, the crowd didn’t complain. Her first and only album has risen to great heights and even won a Grammy. The fact that she has only one album, and therefore a smaller catalog of songs to pull from, didn’t have a negative effect on her performance whatsoever. Because of this, a majority of the audience was able to accompany her on every song.

Not only is Musgraves a talented singer and songwriter, but she also plays multiple instruments such as guitar, banjo, harmonica, and tambourine. There were very few songs where she didn’t have an instrument in her hands. If there wasn’t an instrument, you knew she was about to launch into a cover complete with the “nerdy” dancing she warned us of at the beginning of the show.

Throughout the show, she engaged with the audience, sharing stories of breaking her tooth during a recent trip to Mexico and gifts she received at meet-and-greet. A clearly intoxicated woman continuously yelled, “Free Gurley!” which drew understandable confusion from Musgraves, who responded “Did you say ‘Merry Go ‘Round’?” and launched into her biggest song to date. The emotional song highlights the negative aspects of life in a small town. Near the end of the song, she instructed everyone to light up their phones. Usually this stereotypical concert move is super cheesy, but in the context of the song, it was a beautiful sight to behold in the Georgia Theatre.

She plowed through her entire album and debuted some newer songs, such as “Biscuits,” “The Trailer Song,” “High Time,” and “Cup of Tea.” After “Cup of Tea,” she mentioned that this was her first show back on tour in awhile and proclaimed, “Georgia, you fixed me right up.”

No show would be complete without cover songs, which she definitely included in the set list. She covered one of her favorite artists, Dolly Parton. A hard rock rendition of “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra emphasized her love for the classics. In an oddly glorious moment, she covered the notorious ‘90s classic “No Scrubs,” saying “Nobody wants a scrub, not even in Athens.”

The final song was one members of the audience had been shouting for since she stepped on stage: “Follow Your Arrow.” The band emerged one final time to accompany Musgraves in a rendition of “Happy Trails” to offer a farewell to the audience.

Kacey Musgraves delivered the incredibly charismatic, laidback, and powerful performance. She is one of the few artists who has the ability to sound even better live than in a studio. It’s no surprise she sold out the Theatre on her first visit.

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