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Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Hosted Allen Stone at Their Summer Concert Series

Written By: Elaine Cutting  Allen Stone Brings the Funk at Hyatt Regency

Allen Stone rocked the Hyatt Summer Concert series last Friday night. That is, as hard core rocking as a laid back, funk-soul singer can rock. His upbeat songs and personality filled the area of the Hyatt Summer Concert with pure joy and fun. As part of a string of summer events, the Hyatt Newport Beach is putting on several summer concerts in its outdoor amphitheater. These are not like your grandparents’ jazz in the park, they’re lively and fun, with the spice of great artists like Kevin Bacon, Mindi Abair, Smokey Robinson, and of course, Allen Stone.

The venue is intimate and airy, giving it the feel of a private, backyard party but with your favorite bands. Nestled in a circle of hedges on a grassy slope, the stage of the amphitheater is set up like a wooden gazebo, complete with a flat concrete stage and patio umbrellas. Padded folding chairs line the aisles, where you can sit or stand under the starry night and sway to your favorite jam. A partial view of the bay and the cool breezes from the ocean make it the ideal setting for such a casual concert.

At this particular event, the walkway from the hotel lobby to the amphitheater was lined with various sponsoring booths ranging from artist merchandise to free swag from Bank of the West to a raffle that included a new Volvo, a signed guitar, and a signed alto saxophone. Each of these booths was worth a visit when looking for something quick to do before the concert. Although we were free to bring in anything purchased at the hotel lobby bar, the event also included a smaller, more easily accessible bar stocked with Kendall-Jackson wine, Stella Artois beer, Jose Cuervo, various other cocktails as well as soda and water for those not inclined to drink, or for underage guests. Oh, did I mention the concerts are children friendly?

There could not have been a better match for this festive backyard bash feel and extraordinarily beautiful venue than Allen Stone. Calm, chill, and charismatic, Stone’s “feel good” vibe blends excellently with the charming setting. Speaking with Allen Stone before the concert revealed Stone’s naturally pleasant and uplifting attitude. He describes his music as “feel good music” and ultimately just wants to spread a theme of “joy and happiness.”  

When talking about how he feels touring, Stone says, “I have a lot of frequent flyer miles.” As he should with nearly five years of touring under his belt! “On the road you get the high of highs, ” he says. “You get to see people’s reaction in real time. When you record, you don’t get to see people react. [Touring], you get to see it in real time and witness what you’re doing.” Although he had not yet explored the hotel, he claimed that he loved the venue, commenting on the beautiful setting and hospitality. “They take very good care of the artists, ” says Stone. “We’re actually getting dinner!”

The opener for Allen Stone was Jessica Childress, who you might recognize from The Voice. Performing solo with just her keyboard, Childress was also an incredibly charming presence on the concrete stage. Childress would often address the audience, explaining how nervous she was performing solo but how she felt she was becoming close friends with every attendee. Childress’ friendly, outgoing style really lit up the sunset backed amphitheater. Of course, her voice also was stunning. She sang several songs with resounding passion, including what she admitted was a new single she had been working on for almost 10 years.    

After a short break, came Allen Stone himself with his whole ensemble. His band features himself on the guitar and vocals, Jason Holt on the drums, Steve Watkins on keys, Trevor Larkin on guitar, and Tyler Carroll on bass. They’re also accompanied by a dancing Trombonist and a Saxophonist for a classic big band feel. Stone swayed on the concrete stage, thrilling his listeners with his sweet tones and upbeat songs. He engaged with the audience like they were all old friends, telling members he was jealous of their bracelets, commenting on clothing, teaching new dance moves he invented on his tour of the grounds called “golf course jig”, and at one point singing freestyle about the thread count of the sheets on the beds in the Hyatt hotel rooms.

In total, Stone sang around 14 songs, opening the party with the upbeat and highly appropriate “Celebrate Tonight”. Other highlights included fan favorites like “Fake Future”, “American Privilege”, “Love”, and a new song the band wrote together called “Naturally”, which Stone dedicated to all the women in the audience. And the crowd loved it! It was a breathtaking night and a fun, casual concert with a whole lot of funk and even more heart.

The next Summer Concert at the Hyatt is on August 12,  featuring jazz guitarist Earl Klugh and will be well worth a visit!      

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
1107 Jamboree Rd
Newport Beach, CA 92660
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