For the country star Maren Morris, Getting back on the road after two years away from touring was a relief. On Friday night, she headlined Radio City Music Hall, and towards the end of the night she expressed how much she missed her fans when she was away. Wearing an ocean blue Giuseppe di Morabito dress with a sheer, iridescent skirt with feather detailing on the collar and sleeves and strappy heels by Schutz, she thanked the crowd for pushing her single “The Bones.” to the heights of the Billboard Hot 100. the depths of the pandemic.
In a pre-show interview, Morris opened up about everything that’s happened since she last took the stage at the famed concert hall in September 2019, and how happy she was to be back on the road. “I feel very lucky, because having stripped it down for two and a half years — or more, actually — I wondered if I would ever come back,” she said. “It’s been extremely positive.”
She was thrilled to have a busy weekend in New York, which began on Thursday when she performed a selection of her hits for the Today show at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, wearing a sublime neon green suit by Jacquemus. After releasing their third album, humble quest, in March, Morris hit the road again in June, and during her first shows she was adjusting to playing songs she hadn’t had before.
“I listened to the mixes from the record millions of times in my car but couldn’t really share them or tease them in front of a crowd or even play them live at a concert to see if the songs worked,” said she declared. “That first show of the tour, it was me seeing the crowd reaction to the songs for the first time.”
But as she geared up for a big weekend in New York, she said she thought she could relax a bit more. She was also thinking of treasured memories from previous shows in the city. “The diversity of the crowd always blows my mind, being rooted in country music and then coming to play a gig in New York. I remember the first gig I played there, we were at the Bowery and I had no idea what my audience would be like,” she said. “There is no such thing as energy.”
She was also looking forward to visiting some of her favorite places in Manhattan. “New York City is a melting pot, so I always feel at home,” she said. “I feel like if I had a second place, it would be in New York.” West Village mainstay Morandi and Altro Paradiso for breakfast martinis were two of the places she looked forward to the most. “Honestly, I feel like a city girl. I feel like I thrive the most when I’m surrounded by buildings, shops, and restaurants.
For most of this tour, Morris traveled with his 2-year-old son, Hayes, who was born shortly after the start of the pandemic. She said he was already becoming an accomplished traveler, but tour dates were mostly confined to weekends. “He can still sleep in his own bed during the week, so it’s a good reset,” she explained. “But now he’s seen all the children’s museums and all the zoos.”
She relished the opportunity not to have to choose between the stage and her family. “It’s fun to be able to be on stage and do my thing for two hours and then be his mom,” she said. “I don’t have to separate the two things, which is good.” Hayes did not follow the weekend in New York, but Morris’s husband, Ryan Hurd, did, and he joined her on stage to sing their clever duet from the album, “I Can’t Love You Anymore.”
Morris said she’s not a big fan of wrapping, so to reduce stress, she and the stylist Daniel Michel has come up with a clever system to keep all of her looks in order. “She did a ton of looks for the stage and we just did a two-hour fitting of a bunch of them and put on, you know, shoes and accessories with each look,” she said. declared. “Once we adapted everything that needed to be changed, we put everything in clear garment bags and put a photo of me from trying on in this look on each of the garment bags.”
For Friday, she chose a particularly special look from the group: the Elle Woods-meets-mermaid dress by Giuseppe di Morabito. “We adapted a ton of looks before Maren went on tour, and she was saving that for Radio City,” Michelle said in an email. “It was crystal and feathery, sexy and fun, everything you’d want to see on stage!”
Morris’ pre-show rituals usually involve checking out the venue to make sure everything is perfect, then relaxing while it’s time to do your hair and makeup. “No one bothers me, my son has already gone to bed by this point, so it’s just two really meditative hours before the show,” she said. “Then I go out and blow my energy.”
Sometimes she puts on an episode of a TV show, like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, or a podcast such as Megan Stalterit is Confront the demons, and make up yourself. But Friday, makeup artist Katie Nova did the honors, giving her a multifaceted powder blue eye to match her dress and a sumptuous nude lip. Her bouncy wave set was done by a Nashville-based hairstylist Marwa Bashir.
The show ended with an acoustic rendition of his debut hit, “My Church,” on a balcony, which had the effect of transforming the entire concert hall into an improvised gospel choir. It was exactly what Morris had hoped for during the pandemic. “Thanks to COVID – and everything going on – even though I was trying to stay busy, it was so insular and you don’t get that human response. It’s literally your own thoughts all day, every day,” she said. “I really missed being able to play my music for people who wanted to hear it.”