Outside the Buckhead Theatre and down Roswell Road, a line of fans stood waiting. As they entered into standing room only, the anticipation was building. Drinks and iPhones in hand, teens and adults alike listened through opening band Saint Motel, knowing who would be next. Around 9 p.m., the lights dimmed and the show began. Nate Ruess took the stage.
Opening with his latest single, “Great Big Storm,” Ruess and his backing band, the Big Romantic, brought an electric dynamic to the stage, proving that his first solo tour would not be his last.
Ruess then pulled songs from his previous band, fun., playing “Carry On” and then later “We Are Young.” The audience could not resist yelling every word from the two notable works.
A surprise in the middle, Ruess played “Oceans” from his first band, the Format. Although the band disbanded over six years ago, it definitely brought back the upbeat indie-pop vibes that were left in the mid-2000s.
The room became an emotion-filled bubble as Ruess and a sole piano player dismissed the rest of the Big Romantic to play the hit single, “Just Give Me a Reason.” Although P!nk and Ruess co-sung the ballad, Ruess was able to capture all the pain and transcend it, leaving some in the audience in tears.
To bring the audience back to the energy, Ruess covered Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” but blended it seamlessly into his set; if he had not announced it was a cover, most would not have even realized it.
Ruess continued playing songs from his recent solo release Grand Romantic, including “You Light My Fire” and his first single “Nothing Without Love.” All of these keep his high-energy, pop-driven style.
As he exited from his set, it was obvious that the crowd was not satisfied with just those few songs. They yelled, demanding, “We want Nate!” over and over. Ruess came out for his encore with the title track “Grand Romantic.” With lyrics copied from the fun. song “Some Nights” in between the verses, the audience knew what to expect after. He closed with what could arguably be considered his most famous song to date. Ruess then bowed and left the stage once again.
The audience could not get enough of Ruess’ overflowing panache, chanting his name again until he came out for a second encore, featuring “Harsh Light” from his solo album.
The crowning jewel, however, was his final performance: “She Doesn’t Get It,” the most famous song from Ruess’s days with the Format. As the second encore ended and he waved goodbye, it was apparent from the atmosphere in the theater that Ruess had made the performance an experience for all in attendance.