Morgan Evans stepped onto the stage at Joe's Bar in Chicago on Saturday night (Oct. 13)  with one question for the crowd: “How many of you are seeing me for the first time tonight?" he asked, sweeping his hair back and flashing that big, toothy grin of his.

A majority of the hands enthusiastically shot up in the air. It was all he needed. With his loop pedals strategically placed underneath him, ten candles lit behind him and a set of spotlights above him, Evans tore into a little more than an hour of music celebrating the Friday (Oct. 12) release of his new album, Things That We Drink To.

“It’s been one of the craziest, busiest weeks of my life,” he told the crowd. “Crazy times.”

Evans started off the night with his current single "Day Drunk," a song that had the audience already singing along and further indicating that the Aussie might have another hit on his hands. From there, he went on to perform "American," going back and forth between his two microphones and multiple pedals to make his one-man act sound more impressive than what some five piece bands can put out.

“I moved here from the east coast of Australia 31/2 years ago,” he said, “I have had so much fun traveling around this country and fell in love with it here. I married an American girl last year.”

The crowd erupted, loving the reference to his wife Kelsea Ballerini. And while she was unable to make an appearance at this particular show (she is out on tour with Keith Urban), her proud husband spoke of her often.

"I Do" and the Dylan Scott hit "Hooked" were next on the set list before Evans toned things down with the haunting title track “Things That We Drink To,” taking a moment to refer to the untimely death of his late manager Rob Potts. Potts died in a motorcycle accident last year, and while the audience failed to get much quieter during the somewhat solemn song, the ending hushed them — as if the sheer notes were enough to make the energized fans feel the gravity of the moment.

Evans quickly brought up the mood with his next song, "Everything Changes," but then had another request. "I promise we are going to get back to the party, but I ask you to give me 3 minutes and nine seconds,” he asked the crowd before singing "Dance With Me," his duet with his wife. "This was the first song I wrote for Kelsea and its my favorite song on the new album."

From that moment on, there was no stopping him as he tore into number one single “Kiss Somebody” and a slew of covers including the Beatles' “Hey Jude,” Tom Petty's “Free Falling and Andy Grammer's “Honey I'm Good."

Evans concluded the night with a rousing “Young Again,” which quickly turned into a clap-along/singalong, and a song worthy of a toast.

“I never drink before I play and I’m really strict about that, but right now feels like the right time,” Evans said before taking a quick swig of a much-deserved drink.

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