Orville Peck: Stampede

Frederik Meijer Gardens (Grand Rapids, MI)

A sea of assless chaps, cowboy boots, and fringe lined up for a sold-out show at Grand Rapids’ Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheatre, eager to get a glimpse of everyone’s favorite queer cowboy, Orville Peck. Especially during Pride month, fans came dressed in their best gay-coded, cowboy, and gay-coded cowboy attire to fit right in with the South African-born country music star. With support from the incredible talents of Debbii Dawson and Durand Jones, the audience was happily chattering and dancing along to the music long before Peck even took the stage.

When the moment finally came, Peck and his band walked out to Lefty Frizzell’s 1964 country hit, “Saginaw, Michigan,” before hitting it off immediately with “Big Sky.” Peck performed a variety of songs from his lengthy discography, even mentioning that he made sure his setlist included a mix of tracks from each of his albums, including his latest release, the long awaited Stampede: Vol. 1. A tradition of Peck’s is to pass out roses to audience members. He noted that he chose his recipients based on who was the best dressed, who was dancing the hardest, or who knew all the words. His first rose went out to a lucky lady in the front row, but his second went to a man with “the best Willie Nelson braids [he had] ever seen.”

An Orville Peck show brings the complete Americana experience, but also feels like you are chatting with an old friend. Peck truly enjoyed interacting with the crowd, sharing stories of his own life, and expressing the meanings of certain songs. He had made his Grand Rapids’ debut back in 2019 and was scheduled to perform again last year, but canceled his 2023 “Bronco” tour in order to focus on his mental health and well-being. From a fan’s perspective, Peck seemed to be in high spirits and at home on stage.
Even non-country music fans can’t help but admit that Peck’s tracks are made for everyone to enjoy. The “Stampede” summer tour continues through the fall of 2024 with stops at Place Des Festivals, Hinterland, and his sixth annual self-titled Rodeo, taking place in Nashville, Tennessee. Rid of his fringe mask and opting for a more subtle face mask, Peck seems to be moving into a new era of music that is rid of negativity and instead focuses on peace, love, and positivity for all.

photos & story by Isabel Dowell