Concert Review: Jake Wesley Rogers

Posted on: April 18, 2023
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Jake Wesley Rogers Live

After being rained out last month, Jake Wesley Rogers made Austin the final stop on his Peace, Love, and Pluto tour.

Opening for Jake on this tour was Stacey Ryan, an incredible talent who told the story of how one night, she got drunk texts from a guy she had been seeing but had gone their separate ways a few days earlier. She wrote a song about it, posted it on TikTok, and now she’s signed to a record deal.

I had never listened to her before this, but man, her voice is something. Her vocal runs aren’t quite on par with Mariah Carey or Christina Aguilera, but give her time. She also played piano and guitar so… lots of talent going on there.

Now for Jake. My friend Melanie and I first saw him in September opening up for Panic! at the Disco. We immediately fell in love and as soon as this tour was announced, snapped up presale tickets. I saw him about a month later at ACL as well.

The stage was set with his white piano in the centre and drums stage right. On the piano sat a white tea pot sporting a mustache and a tea cup.

He came out in an incredible yellow two-piece number with the largest sleeves you’ve ever seen. Pretend you’re walking around with 2 Toddlers and Tiaras tutus on each arm. Then you may have some idea.

He performed 2-3 songs in this outfit before his first quick change. I was NOT expecting Taylor Swift 2.0 going into this, but I’m not mad about it.

Jake changed into a red translucent duster with bell sleeves and black pants, where he performed 3-4 more songs, including a new tracked called “Hot Gospel.” It was funky and groovy and I can’t wait for it to be released.

Next costume change was into a matching pants and trenchcoat combo that was giving Twister mat. I believe the pants were actually circles, but the colours on the coat were in the shapes of hearts. It also had fringe. Long story short, I need it.

His first song in this set was “Jakob From The Bible,” a song about his first boyfriend who shared his name. He said their romance was like “Missouri ‘Call Me By Your Name.’” After they broke up, he hadn’t heard from him or his family in a while, until he got a call from Jakob’s (Jacob’s?) sister. He had been in a bad mental state but was now living with her and was doing better. They had heard the song and reached out to Jake. Don’t worry, they enjoyed it.

A year after that conversation, he got another call. Jakob had passed away.

After a couple of songs, Jake took a break to introduce the band. He explained that the whole tour, this is the point in the show where they usually play Truth or Dare, with him asking questions of the three band members. But since tonight was the last show of the tour, it was the band’s payback time to ask HIM. During the previous song, Jake had knocked one of Simon’s drums completely off the set, joking he was “too gay” to help put it back together. When Simon asked truth or dare, Jake said “truth.” Simon refused this answer and proceeded to dare Jake to play a drum solo. He wasn’t Neil Peart or anything, but he wasn’t bad.

Next, his bassist (whose name I forgot because I’m awful with names. The only reason I remember Simon is because he said it like 75 times) asked truth or dare. Jake answered with “truth.” Unlike Simon, she stuck with it. Her truth? FMK: the three members of the band. After some soul searching and probably wishing he could bury himself in the sand, he gave his answers. Simon = dead.

Lastly, guitarist and musical director Mike (?), who just so happens to be from Austin, asked truth or dare. Jake went with dare. The dare: kiss Simon.

Anyway, after that, he brought Stacey back out, where they proceeded to duet “For Good” from Wicked, and finished up with his biggest hit “Pluto.”

Once that was over, they all left the stage. Only Jake returned for the encore, while also sporting a new shirt with the words “Protect Trans Folks.” At this point, he reminisced over his various COVID lockdown phases, including microwave mug brownies, and writing essays. As his encore, he wanted to share one of them as a spoken word piece titled “I Am.” It was incredibly moving and covered many questions he’s had throughout his life including about Christianity, gender, and sexuality.

On the whole, I was once again blown away by not only his talent and showmanship but also his vulnerability and willingness to bare his soul, something I feel he was able to do more freely in this more intimate environment.

*HDTGM Paul Scheer “Five Stars” voice*

Review by Stephanie Robinson, AKA Stefny at the Disco