Leon Bridges @ Lucas Oil Live, Thackerville, OK

Words and photos by Scott Rowe
I've never been much of a gambler and I've rarely found myself in a casino, regardless of the location. Thackerville, Durant, Shreveport, or even in New Orleans, it's never been a destination of mine, outside of the realms of music. For many years, WinStar World Casino hosted concerts in their Global Events Center, a space that felt more like a hotel ballroom than a music venue, but the space hosted a bunch of top-tier artists, including an up-and-coming talent from Fort Worth back in 2016. Nearly a year after the release of his instant classic album, Coming Home, Leon Bridges made the trip up north to Thackerville to play to a packed house of fans who had become infatuated with his old school, soul sound.

Now fast forward several years, the WinStar Global Casino had paused live entertainment during its tough stretch of COVID, but on the opposite of its pause, the Casino made a big investment in a new music venue, one to compete with the growing market and set its sights to be a one-stop destination for all things entertainment. So, it would only be fitting for me to make my trek up to Thackerville to see the newly opened Lucas Oil Live with the only act I caught at the aforementioned Global Events Center, Leon Bridges.

Leon's evolution from old school soul to a blend of contemporary R&B makes for a fantastic show, as his range continues to broaden and the next song on the setlist may be a good ole fashioned swing tune or a funky groove, both of which want you to get on your feet and dance. This show had this in spades, as your taken back with the classic sound of "Smooth Sailin'" before transitioning to the head bobbin' number "Texas Sun". Leon is a son of Texas and he's not afraid to shout out his roots, especially when a number of those in attendance are from the Lone Star state.

The setlist was full of his hits including "Beyond" (a personal fave), "Coming Home", "Lisa Sawyer", and "Bad Bad News", all of which were performed exquisitely by his eight-piece band of musicians and vocalists. Shout out to the saxophone player who caught my ear during the show. Of course, no Leon show is complete without the show closing performance of "River". The collective harmony of the vocalists alongside Leon created a cathartic experience, as this song always delivers in so many ways. It was the cherry on top of a show that was top notch from start to finish. The acoustics of Lucas Oil Live provided an exclamation point, as they were spot on, maybe a little bit loud for Leon's show, but nonetheless, it sounded really good. I'm really excited to have a brand new, mid-sized venue within an hour of DFW, one that promises to bring A-list artists to Southern Oklahoma for the foreseeable future. 

Photos of the show are below:

Leon Bridges @ Lucas Oil Live, Thackerville, OK Leon Bridges @ Lucas Oil Live, Thackerville, OK Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on November 13, 2023 Rating: 5
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