Up-and-coming singer, songwriter, and guitarist Morgan Wade strutted onstage at the Bowery Ballroom twice this week. A second night was added to her stay in NYC after she announced a lone show for Monday, February 27th and her insatiable fans sold out the 600-capacity venue almost instantly. Backed by four other musicians, the heavily tattooed Morgan Wade emerged onstage on Wednesday wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with The Moody Blues before diving into her second show in three days.
Only a few years ago, Morgan’s life derailed after a string of shows in NYC left her dejected, depressed, and alone with her demons. Her honest lyrics and powerful voice describe her history of substance abuse, namely alcohol, and her struggle with sober living. Bereft of her defunct routines, Morgan turned to touring, songwriting, and nonstop performing as a cathartic release.
After an opening set by solo country artist Kaitlin Butts of Oklahoma, Morgan Wade and her quintet took the stage as MW wielded an acoustic guitar for an opening cut of “Don’t Cry”. Putting down the guitar, the mesmerizing frontwoman focused on songs from her debut album, 2021’s Reckless, and dished out “Last Cigarette”, the title track, and picked up her guitar once more for “When the Dirt All Settles” and “Matches and Metaphors”. Guitarist Clint Wells bit into his first guitar solo of the night during “Reckless”, exchanging a country tone for the sounds of heavier rock and roll.
Morgan paid tribute to Alanis Morissette, with whom she shared the stage at Iowa’s State Fair in 2022, with “Alanis” before discarding her guitar to belt out “Fall in Love With Me”. With her acoustic back in hand, Morgan Wade performed “The Night” and “The Night Part II” in succession. Miley Cyrus’ “Bad Karma” followed as the first cover of the night before a slew of originals wound down the set. “Mend”, “Run”, Take Me Away”, and a closing “Northern Air” spilled licentiously from a bottle uncorked, soaked up by the audience and floorboards below.
Returning for the encore, Morgan Wade stood alone centerstage to capture the intimacy of “Met You” before moving into a cover of The Outfield’s “Your Love.” As she worked her way through the second cover of the night, she was joined, at first by her mallet-wielding drummer, Ethan Luck, and keyboardist Don Eanes, and later, by guitarist Clint Wells and the long-haired bassist, Johnny Sword. Her powerful vocals carried into Rick Springfield’s iconic tale of jealousy and unrequited love, “Jessie’s Girl”.
One final segue blazed into Morgan Wade’s most well-known hit, “Wilder Days”, which gave the sold-out crowd a chance to chant the chorus. As Morgan thanked the audience with a wave and a bow, she left the stage as her band played on. Throughout the show, classic rippers like Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” were teased and worked into segues and intros and as the show neared completion, the band teased the intro of Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” as a conclusive outro.
Morgan Wade’s meteoric rise streaks across the country with a show tonight, March 3rd, in Philadelphia, PA. For a full tour breakdown and to catch her in venues where you can still see the stage, click here. Check out a gallery of photos from Morgan Wade at Bowery Ballroom courtesy of photographer Otis Sinclair and fan-shot videos by Taxman unless otherwise noted.
Who knows where Morgan Wade is headed as she continues to soar. I, for one, cannot wait to see where her trajectory is bound as her songwriting and music evolve in parallel with her life experiences. Good luck, Morgan.
Morgan Wade – “Don’t Cry” – 3/1/23
Morgan Wade – “When The Dirt All Settles” – 3/1/23
Morgan Wade – “The Night” – 3/1/23
Morgan Wade – “Run” – 3/1/23
Morgan Wade – “Wilder Days” – 3/1/23
Morgan Wade – “Jessie’s Girl” (Rick Springfield) > “Your Love” (The Outfield) – 3/1/23
[Video: Drinking Muddy Whiskey]
Setlist: Morgan Wade | Bowery Ballroom | New York, NY | 3/2/23
Set: Don’t Cry, Last Cigarette, Reckless, Alanis, When the Dirt All Settles, Matches and Metaphors, Fall In Love With Me, The Night, The Night Part II, Bad Karma (Miley Cyrus), Mend, Run, Take Me Away, Northern Air
Encore: Met You , Your Love (The Outfield) > Jessie’s Girl (Rick Springfield) > Wilder Days 
 Morgan solo acoustic
 Intro of Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” as Outro