Leon Bridges @ WinStar Global Events Center, Thackerville, OK

The meteoric rise of Leon Bridges has been well documented, especially in North Texas, where the smooth singer hails from (Ft. Worth, to be exact).  From busking to common stints at open mic night, a short residency at Ft. Worth's Scat Lounge following the release of his critically-acclaimed debut, Coming Home, to last year's sold out homecoming at Dallas's Majestic Theatre, Leon now plays to thousands at nearly every tour stop he makes.  Through what must have been a whirlwind 2015 and a more stable 2016, Bridges has not only traveled the United States to spread the gospel of his Sam Cooke-esque reincarnation, but he has also toured the world and made stops at renowned festivals at Glastonbury and Bonnaroo.  And while Thackerville, OK may not be the highlight of his young career, the nearly sold-out crowd, over 3,000 strong, at the WinStar Global Events Center would have convinced you otherwise.

As the lights dimmed and his band took the the stage, Leon was nowhere to be seen.  Instead, his band warmed up in true retro fashion, showing their top-notch licks before a word was sung.  Backed by five highly-talented musicians and the incredible Brittni Jessie on vocals, Mr. Bridges finally strutted onto the WinStar stage and jumped into "Smooth Sailin'".  If you're a fan of his album, you'll love his live set.  There's just an extra bit of energy and bounce to the music, and you also get to bear witness to all of Leon's best dance moves.  "How are you doing, Winstar?" was asked often and always met with loud cheers.  And while this show took place in Oklahoma, it was obvious that many of the fans were from south of the border.  Texas, that is.  I would say a good 80% followed Leon from Texas to WinStar.

Most of the set hailed from Coming Home, but Leon and company did play a few new songs for the near-capacity Grand Events Center.  During the set, Leon's crowd was fairly tame, with handfuls of people dancing near their seats or rocking in their chairs.  But once he busted out "Coming Home", the entire Events Center stood and sang every word.  And that might have been the high point for most, but he closed his set with my personal favorite, "River".  With his guitar in hand, a rare sight as his shows, and Jessie to his right, the duo sang in tandem as a choir-like keyboard played in the background.  With a sincere "thank you, Winstar", all three left the stage to a standing ovation.  Leon and the band did come back for an encore and nearly every seat was still full by time their finished their set.  He's an amazing performer and he's only going to get better.  So, the next time he's in town, get your tickets and get down to the show.  It'll be a fun time.

Leon Bridges @ WinStar Global Events Center, Thackerville, OK Leon Bridges @ WinStar Global Events Center, Thackerville, OK Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on July 11, 2016 Rating: 5
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