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Tyler Childers shows it all in jeans for sold-out crowd in Saratoga – Saratogian

Tyler Childers performed at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, July 3, 2024 as part of his “Mule Pull Tour ’24.” (PHOTO BY DREW WEMPLE – MEDIA NEWSGROUP)

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — It was a moonshine-inspired performance featuring a rubber chicken, an old-fashioned television, a denim outfit and a whole lot of string instruments. Tyler Childers rocked out to a sold-out crowd at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Wednesday night, and did it his way.

As part of the Mule Pull ’24 Tour, Childers played a 23-song set that lasted just over two hours on the Broadview stage, showcasing his vocal versatility and drawing on his musical roots.

The Kentucky native has carved out his own space in the world of country music by combining folk and bluegrass with psychedelics and gospel. Childers proved this early on, opening the concert with his unreleased, slow song “Her and the Banks” before moving on to his honky-tonk style “Percheron Mules.”

Childers stayed true to the stirring country theme with his hit “Country Squire,” but finally tempered the feeling with the love song “All Your’n.”

The 33-year-old gave listeners an insight into his inspirations on Wednesday evening and played covers of “Help Me Make It Through the Night” by Kris Kristofferson and “Old Country Church” by Hank Williams Sr.

While supporting musicians James Barker (keyboard/pedal steel guitar), Craig Burletic (cello/bass guitar), CJ Cain (guitar) and Rodney Elkins (drums) certainly did their part to get the concert hall screaming and shouting, Childers took on a solo portion of the performance that made it feel like he was sitting on the porch singing just to and for the listener.

“Lady May,” another love song written from the perspective of grief and regret, opened Childers’ acoustic solos, followed by his somber motivational song “Nose on the Grindstone.” Before bringing all of his compatriots back on stage, Childers closed the segment with “Follow you to Virgie” – a song honoring his friend Cody’s late grandmother, who always had Childers and his friends come over to her house to play her music and just hang out.

Childers raced to the finish line of his concert, performing his hymn to a hard life, “Whitehouse Road,” as well as the hymn “Way of the Triune God,” with opening act SG Goodman returning to the stage to sing along.

Childers kept his word and set SPAC on fire with his penultimate song “House Fire,” accompanied by images of blazing flames and a never-ending banjo performance.

Childers addressed the audience directly and said there would be no encore, “unlike some of the other guys who leave and then come back out and keep playing.”

“After this we’re going to call it a day and go (expletive) somewhere else,” he said to the roar of laughter from his 26,000 fans. But before that, he ended the album with “Universal Sound” – a feel-good track about the benefits of just slowing down and listening to music, in whatever form.

Childers used an old-fashioned television on stage that showed grainy clips and footage of important moments from the musician’s life. But as the concert began, only one word appeared on the screen: “Camaraderie.”

“Some of you will leave here tonight having made friends for life,” Childers told the audience. With such a performance, Childers has found a friend in Saratoga Springs.