A sold out hometown crowd for Tennis.
A sold out hometown crowd for Tennis.
Miles Chrisinger

Tennis's Homecoming: A Love Story That Almost Did Not Happen

Indie sweethearts Tennis lit up the Bluebird Theater on Saturday, March 4, just days before the March 10 release of the duo's latest album, Yours Conditionally. In a night filled with strong emotions, married couple Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley performed to a sold-out audience and had much to say about Denver and their recent whereabouts.

After playing an opening set to wild applause, Moore introduced the band and graciously thanked the audience for selling out a hometown show — yet again. Moore, who has been on the road performing with Riley and the band since mid-February, remarked that every show at the Bluebird is by far the most special of every tour. "It's where I saw so many concerts in high school and college," said the University of Colorado Denver graduate. Even opening for Nathaniel Rateliff at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles this past fall was nowhere near as special as playing the Bluebird, she added.

Tennis cycled through four albums of material, as far back as its debut full-length, Cape Dory.  As Moore played keys and sang, the crowd boosted her hums and refraining "ohs" and "ums" on hits such as "Marathon" and "It All Feels the Same." She beamed at the audience as she sang wordless melodies.

Miles Chrisinger

Midway through the concert, Moore took center stage to thank Riley's mother for her support and joked about her being the reason the show sold out, since she purchased 35 tickets for friends and family.

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Moore also lavished praise on her next-door neighbor, who allowed the band to rehearse in an extra space at his home. Right before the spring tour, Moore fell ill; the group was on the verge of canceling shows. Luckily, her neighbor is a doctor, so he was able to provide watchful care, antibiotics, steroid shots and medical attention as the tour began.

The night revolved around Moore, who grabbed the audience's attention with her voice that still held high notes with clarity, untarnished by her illness. Her husband, guitarist Riley, divided his attention between the crowd and Moore. Riley's gaze — under an old, faded Colorado Avalanche hat — would shift to her throughout the show. While it seemed as if he was striving to keep rhythm with his wife, his gaze revealed his admiration for the presence she held on stage.

Miles Chrisinger

Tennis went backstage at the end of the show but could not stay there long, as the crowd was thunderously applauding and shouting for more. They returned to the stage and thanked the audience immediately for creating an atmosphere they cherished.

The band played "My Better Self," off of its second album, Young and Old. Before that, though, Moore took center stage and said she was relieved to be out from behind her keyboard. Without going into detail, she introduced the evening's final song. It was hard to miss what the song "Bad Girls" was about: the Republican administration and the president's attitude toward women.

Said Moore: "This one is for all the bad girls. And the good girls who want to be bad girls. And the guys who want good girls that are bad girls."

Clutching the microphone in her hand, she drew closer to Riley throughout the song, as she melted her fans' hearts. But Moore drew away from her husband as she sang the line, "You know I love a good ceremony/That's why I chose matrimony," and then pointed to her wedding ring. The crowd erupted into screams and applause.

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