Ben Rector at the Brady: a magical night

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photo provided

"Magic" album artwork

Sidney Norman, North Staff Photographer

Nov. 10, 2018 Oklahoma native, Ben Rector, played the Brady Theatre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After waiting for hours in a 40 degree wind-chill, fans of ages between 14 and 40 swarmed to the pit area to claim their spots. The Band Camino, an eclectic pop-alternative band from the midwest, opened up the show and set the pace for a memorable night. While still somewhere offstage, Ben opened with first verse and chorus of “Extraordinary Magic” followed by the second track from his new album Magic, “I Will Always Be Yours”.

The centerpiece of the night was the use of video on a giant cloth “screen” rolled down midway through the set. While the band played “Kids” with no stage lights, fans’ sole attention was on the big screen. Nostalgic moments rolled from classic childhood movies of the 80s and 90s, including E.T., Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Lion King and The Sandlot. Later in the show, the band played “Paris” from their previous album released in Aug. of 2015, Brand New. A montage of video shot in film of Ben and his wife, Hillary, in Paris played as fans teared up at the couple’s love for each other.

The video during the live songs was produced excellently and was something I had never seen before in my concert-going history. During “Old Friends”, where Ben talks about how it isn’t possible to “make old friends”, the band created an extremely personal atmosphere with authentic home videos of Ben’s childhood friends. The night ended with fan-favorites including the hit single “Brand New” and “The Men That Drive Me Places” accompanied by tear-filled cheers from the audience. Out of the three other times I’ve seen Ben perform in Oklahoma, this performance stands out the most. The band’s decision to play many tracks from several previous albums wasn’t surprising because Ben typically mixes up his setlist for homecoming shows in Tulsa. The creativity, individuality, and interaction with the audience throughout the night really sealed the deal. Ben will be back to Oklahoma on March 8, 2019 to play at the Jones Assembly in OKC.; tickets can be found here.

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