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Fans were thrilled to have multi-genre singer Hunter Hayes return to the Rialto stage after many years on May 21. Hayes was a young boy then and he has returned as a man. The packed house demonstrates that his fan base is predominantly young women, but not exclusively.

The ‘Closer To You’ tour is in support of Hayes’ new music that includes recent singles like “Heartbreak” and “Closer To You.” Hayes was wildly entertaining and AXS was there and here are five reasons to see Hunter Hayes live.

1) Hayes is a master showman who electrifies fans

As he arrived on stage and encouraged the crowd to clap along, he performed “Madness.” It’s a pop-influenced, up-tempo number that got the audience singing along. When one considers that the song was delivered in total darkness and it is a new song, Hayes had the young crowd in the palm of his hand, singing along.

Hayes followed the poppy, good time mood with “One Shot,” to keep the upbeat vibe going. He was bounding around the stage, enthusiastically attacking each song until his acoustic segment.

Hayes effectively provided many moments speaking to fans as though they were his close friends. Hayes seemed to be confiding in the fans as he gave very open and honest declarations about feeling like he didn’t fit in before playing certain songs.

2) A child prodigy with unlimited skills as an instrumentalist

Hayes started playing professionally at the age of two. By the age of four, he was performing at local gigs and on national television. President Clinton invited Hayes to perform at the White House at the age of seven. Hayes was unstoppable.

Hayes is a multi-instrumentalist and is touted to be able to play 30 musical instruments. During this show, he played acoustic and electric guitar with some occasional piano.

He played every instrument on his first multi-platinum album.

3) A prolific hit songwriter

Hayes was first signed in Nashville as a songwriter. Hayes co-wrote the song “Play” for Rascal Flatts in 2010. He mentioned during the show that he writes approximately 100 songs to get one song that he considers good. It takes a lot of songs to compile one album.

His 2011 self-titled album contained songs that Hayes co-wrote every song, played every instrument and co-produced. The album was certified 2 times Platinum. Hayes expressed his gratitude during the show that he finally had songs that he was obligated to sing during his live shows. He added, “That wasn’t always the case.” “Wanted,” and “Somebody’s Heartbreak” were among that sacred list from his first album.

4) Highlights of the show came when Hayes played solo

“Invisible” was delivered as he sat at the piano and he hit the higher notes impeccably. It was a raw and emotional rendition that showed off his talents as a songwriter, and when the crowd turned on their lights it added up to a very personal moment.

The acoustic segment also showed how well Hayes plays his instruments. “Wanted” was played with an intensely powerful acoustic opening.

 5) Unique soulful vocals

Hayes vocals are as powerful as his guitar and piano playing. His voice is immediately recognizable. His dark performance of “Wild Blue” showed how amazing his vocals can be and often are.

His passion and intensity in his total performance was infectious. The crowd’s screams during the show were abundant. The singer performed more than two hours without an intermission. Several of his songs were abbreviated, otherwise, the show would have gone on for three hours.

The opening act for the night was Levi Hummon. The Nashville native provided a very high-energy set that also had the girls screaming. Expect to hear more about Hummon in the future.

For a complete set list, click here.