When Suzie McNeil said her “fans are the most important thing,” she wasn’t kidding. On Friday, January 29, I headed to the Sanderson Centre to see my first Suzie McNeil concert.
I’m not a huge Suzie fan, but I cheered her on while she was battling her way through the hit show Rockstar: INXS and for that reason I was very curious to see if she could keep my interest the way she had on reality television. To my surprise (and relief), she did that and more.
McNeil opened the set with a mash up of her top 20 hit “Let’s Go” and U2’s “Beautiful Day”. She continued to pay homage to her rocker roots by incorporating other rock and psychedelic heavyweights into her show by covering artists from The Beatles to Pink Floyd. The quality of her voice was undeniable and her raspy, organic tone gave her music strength and credibility that the radio cannot offer.
Between songs, McNeil showed her personal side, introducing the audience to her mom who was in the crowd and taking off her too-high boots. These little moments gave the show a much more intimate feel and made the audience (myself included) feel like an old friend was performing.
McNeil who is an avid supporter of World Vision brought representatives of the organization along on her tour with her in hopes of inspiring others to help. During her encore, she talked a little about why people should help charities like World Vision jokingly saying, “you’ll get really good looking if you sponsor a child—Angelina Jolie kind of good looking”. Her personality kept the show moving and the crowd laughing.
As I said at the beginning, McNeil has a love and appreciation for her fans that many artists take for granted. During her debut albums title track, “Broken and Beautiful” she headed out into the crowd to interact with her fans, giving hugs and high fives. She even recognized a die-hard fan addressing them by name saying, “Hey, Joel. What’s the furthest you’ve travelled to see me perform?” His response of Huntsville brought the laughs and a small look of disappointment from McNeil who exclaimed, “Well, that’s not very far at all!”
So needless to say, my first Suzie McNeil concert was a success. It’s hard to not like someone who has a dedication for what they love to do. And her fans couldn’t be any happier. One concert-goer, Katie Kirby, said “She’s just great. Not only does she have an amazing voice, but she’s so sweet too. Not a lot of performers will sign autographs for all their fans after a show.” But McNeil does and after the show she made sure to chat with everyone and anyone who wanted to meet her. This is what makes her a great performer and a must-see.