Review: Old Dominion’s sold-out concert at Northern Quest is a mutual love fest

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After a sold-out show Saturday night, it’s safe to say that Spokane knows Old Dominion. And it’s probably safe to say that Old Dominion knows Spokane, too.

“We’ve been places before where it’s like, ‘I think we’ve been here before,’ but today, it was definitely, ‘We’ve played in Spokane so many times, at so many different levels,’ ” said lead singer Matthew Ramsey to the audience in Airway Heights.

“It’s one of those towns where we have a lot of memories of actual places that we like to go and things that we like to do when we’re here, so thank you guys for being so good to us through the years.”

Old Dominion returned the favor, offering all seven of their country radio No. 1 hits (“No Such Thing as a Broken Heart,” “Hotel Key,” “One Man Band,” among them) and more in a concert that spanned 90 minutes.

The show was the Nashville-based quintet’s fourth in Spokane since 2014, first performing at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, then the Spokane County Fair in 2018 and Northern Quest for the first time in 2019, according to setlist.fm.

The reigning American Country Music Awards group of the year compelled the 5,000 country music fans in attendance to sing and swing their way through the love-struck stomp of “Make It Sweet,” reflective yearnings of “One Man Band” and outright fun “I Was on a Boat That Day.”

“It doesn’t get any better than this, huh?” Ramsey asked early into the cool night, citing the, “Beautiful weather, live music …”

Flanked by keyboardist/guitarist Trevor Rosen, bassist Geoff Sprung, drummer Whit Sellers and the understated grace of Brad Tursi’s lead guitar contributions, Old Dominion own strong musical bonafides as a band, but also shine on their writing abilities and histories as songwriters.

Ramsey has written/co-written for Dierks Bentley (“Say You Do”) and Kenny Chesney (“Save It for a Rainy Day”); Tursi owns writing or co-writing credits for Tyler Farr (“A Guy Walks Into a Bar”) and Luke Bryan (“Light It Up”); and Rosen has done the same for Keith Urban (“Come Back to Me”) and the Band Perry (“Better Dig Two”).

Even the night’s opening act, the soaring Caitlyn Smith (who materialized in style with a denim dress and tall burgundy Western boots), a writer for Miley Cyrus, John Legend and Dolly Parton in her own right, has benefited from the Old Dominion songcraft camp.

“I Can’t,” co-written by her and the band, has earned more than 12 million streams on Spotify and got a lively reaction from the swelling crowd, especially when Ramsey walked onstage for the duet.

The power Old Dominion demonstrated with every big chorus was knowing how to set complex matters of the heart to music with exacting standards.

From flings, flames and true loves, the Spokane chorus turned out for songs like “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” and “Break Up With Him” and even finished off “One Man Band” in a crowd-wide acapella at Ramsey’s request.

Plus, Spokane got to hear a brand-new song from Old Dominion’s upcoming fourth album in the encore.

“We’re going to try something that we’re probably not ready to try yet,” Ramsey said, “We’re going to try a brand-new song we’ve never played for y’all or anyone, ever,” before launching into ‘Drinkin’ My Feelings.’

The drunken strut of the yet-to-be-released track was well-received, but fans were eager for the comfort of the singalong-ability of ‘Make It Sweet’ that closed out the night.

“What an absolute honor it is to come out here and see from the front all the way to the back up top people dancing and swinging and smiling with their arms around each other,” Ramsey said.

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