Just a few weeks after the release of his ambitious sophomore album, Cowboy Tears, Oliver Tree has embarked on his long-awaited, nearly completely sold-out headlining tour, making his stop in Denver, Colorado at Mission Ballroom this week. The Denver date arrived just five shows into the tour, but if Oliver Tree or either of his openers, 347Aidan and Sueco, were still ironing out the kinks of their performances, it was impossible to tell.
Opening the show was up-and-coming artist, 347Aidan. For someone who started making music in quarantine without the ability to play live – he mentioned that his Denver show was only his fifth show ever – 347Aidan flourished on stage, commanding the crowd with ease and doing what an opener does best; getting fans pumped up for the rest of the night.
Taking things up a notch was Sueco, who came out firing on all cylinders with his single, “Paralyzed”. Sueco’s high energy set came just a couple of days before the release of his debut full-length album, It Was Fun While It Lasted and featured many songs from the release, including single, “Loser” and the title track, during which he smashed a guitar on stage. (This happened only four songs into his set, and for any other artist, it might have felt a bit premature, but for Sueco, it was only the beginning of a wild set that easily stole the show.) Halfway through his set, he announced that he had a special guest to bring on stage, and minutes later, he arrived dressed as Oliver Tree in an attempt to fool fans, proclaiming, “I can’t believe you guys fell for that! The only thing I like about Oliver tree is his mom!” before he later leapt into the crowd for his finale, “Fast”. And judging by the amount of people rushing to his merch booth after his set, it was clear that he won plenty of people over.
Bringing things to an epic, theatrical, hilarious and sometimes downright emotional conclusion was Oliver Tree. Throughout the night, he took fans on a journey through his many personas in a way that felt more like a play and less like a concert. The night started with the same intimate feeling of when he was playing small stages like Denver’s Globe Hall just three years ago, opening with “Forget It” and “Alien Boy”, but it didn’t take long before he was shedding his signature baggy jeans for a new outfit and launching into his massive hit, “Life Goes On” only six songs into his set.
Wardrobe changes occurred frequently, and in between just about every song, Oliver Tree either found himself performing a ridiculous skit (like fighting Sueco, who arrived on stage dressed as him once more, or riding a mini bike around the stage) or speaking candidly with fans about the deeper context behind some of his songs. Before launching into “Cash Machine,” he opened up to the crowd about his recent loss of a close friend, promising that money and things won’t make them happy, but relationships will. That brief moment of vulnerability perfectly summed up what makes an Oliver Tree show great. Wardrobe changes, funny skits and witty banter are all part of his persona, but the emotion behind his songs, especially the newer cuts off of Cowboy Tears, constantly shone through all throughout the night.
Honestly, Oliver Tree could have arrived on stage in a plain t-shirt with no wild production or over the top comedy, and he still would have delivered a spectacular performance, but he clearly knows what works. His wild outfits, immaculate stage design (including a massive cow that he sat atop during “Cowboys Don’t Cry”) and every little trick he pulled out of his sleeve throughout the night made for a one of kind performance that you’ll only find at an Oliver Tree show.