Review: Rex Orange County Live at Radio City Music Hall

Rex Orange County releases a new live album from one of his best concerts at Radio City Music Hall

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Photo Rex Orange County

Rex Orange County releases a live album for his concert at Radio City Music Hall.

Ella Wertz, News/Features Editor

One of my favorite concerts ever was Rex Orange County. I flew to New York to see him perform in Radio City Music Hall and it was definitely one of the best nights of my life. Recently, Rex Orange County released a Live at Radio City Music Hall album, which includes almost all of the songs on the setlist to the same concert I favored so much.

The concert was pretty simplistic. There were colorful sets, but for most of the concert Rex was sitting at the piano or moving around the stage singing. With this more classic approach to performing, the best part of the concert was his actual singing – which I appreciated a lot because many artists often use flashy props or big productions to distract for their singing, which is the real reason why we are all there.

This minimalist approach allows a lot of the magic of the concert to be captured within the live album. The live album includes little quirks he added to each song, like key changes and special lyrics, combined with the responses of the audience, which makes you feel like you are at the concert.

My favorite part of the concert and what I was most excited for in the album was Rex Orange County’s spontaneous performance of New York State of Mind by Billy Joel. Joel was one of my first concerts and one of my all time favorite artists, so this merge of two of my favorite artists was life-changing. And the live album recording didn’t disappoint.

The live album includes the small speech that Rex prefaced his performance of New York State of Mind with, which transports you into the excitement and anticipation of this moment in the concert. His rendition of this song was by far my favorite part of the concert and favorite song in the live album. The mixture of his unedited piano and the audience singing along showcases the entire aura of the concert and captures the authenticity of the moment perfectly to make you feel like you were there.

Another one of my favorite songs in the concert was Best Friend. Even though this is one of his more basic songs, the overall atmosphere combined with everyone screaming this song at the top of their lungs completely heightened the enjoyability of the concert.

In this song, Rex had everyone put their phones away so they could genuinely enjoy the moment and had the audience sing to him. The whole concert, but especially this song, reflects his fun loving personality that isn’t as evident in his regular recorded music.

In comparison to the concert, the album obviously lacks the exciting aura and the overall atmosphere that could really only be found if you were truly sitting in Radio City Music Hall. However, the album does its best to simulate the concert by leaving in any added word or sound from both Rex and the audience. Meaning, if you play the album straight through, you can almost hear everything, minus a couple transitions between songs, that happened at the concert.

The release of this live album was amazing. Not only does it make you feel like you are sitting front row in the concert, but it also gives you better insight into Rex’s charismatic and quirky personality.