Review: T.3: THE OPTION UP TOUR at The Sheldon Music Hall

T.3 blows the roof off of the Sheldon Concert Hall in their first concert appearance.

By: Dec. 09, 2023
Review: T.3: THE OPTION UP TOUR at The Sheldon Music Hall
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Friday, December 8, 2023, was a big day for Jim Hogan, Brendan Jacob Smith and Liam Fennecken. The three men, known collectively as the TikTok sensation T.3 opened their first national tour at The Sheldon Music Hall in St. Louis, Missouri. On the same day, their new EP Album “Option Up” dropped and is now available for purchase or download. Fennecken told the St. Louis audience, “We had the album shipped directly here to the concert hall and you can be the first to buy one.”  

Fennecken, Hogan and Smith know a bit about being well rehearsed before taking the stage. All three are trained theatrically with both Broadway and National Tour credits to their names. Fennecken and Hogan graduated from the theatre program at Penn State University, and Smith is a recent graduate from the theatre program at Ithaca college. The minute they took the stage and opened with their first original song, “Dilly Dilly,” it was apparent the three were prepared to wow their first concert audience, and they did. 

For the next 90 minutes they treated their audience to everything they wanted to hear from their carefully crafted arrangements of pop songs, rock songs, Disney tunes, show tunes and even some Christmas carols. It was fitting that their goose-bump inducing arrangement of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was included in a tour that opened in St. Louis on a chilly December evening. Judy Garland lovingly sings that song to a tearful Margaret O’Brien on Christmas Eve in the classic movie musical “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Ask any civic minded St. Louisan and they will proudly proclaim that “Meet Me in St. Louis” is the best Christmas movie of all time. What the members of T.3 did with that selection, whether they realized it or not, was carved a sentimental spot in the hearts of their St. Louis audience that will never be forgotten. 

Long before their beautiful arrangement of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Fennecken, Hogan and Smith had already established themselves as likeable and relatable performers. It was clear they were as excited about their first show as their eager audience. Their banter was authentic and charming as they shared that they were “just three theatre guys who started singing in a stairwell in Brendan’s parent’s home” as they introduced their second number, “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” The tenors blew the roof off the theatre with a soaring rendition of “Parade” that you don’t often hear male voices sing. It was evident at that point that this concert was about their immense vocal talent wrapped in creative packages. 

T.3’s set list included a powerhouse version of the Kansas classic “Carry On Wayward Son,” that slayed their fans. They treated the audience to their three original arrangements, one written by each member of the group. Their concert impressed the audience with an epic medley of some of the best loved classic songs from Disney animated movies, and plenty of showtunes to keep their theatre fans happy. Hogan stepped to the piano and led the three a heartwarming arrangement of “She Used to Be Mine” from WAITRESS, a show that he performed in with the national tour. The three talented gentlemen sang with perfect pitch and precise vocal control. Nowhere was that more evident than when they stepped off mic, and performed an acappella version of “Bring Him Home,” from the musical Les Misérables. Music can evoke emotion, and Fennecken, Hogan and Smith sent their audience home with an ethereal piece that moistened many an eye.  

There were a couple challenges with their first show that need be addressed for future performances on the tour. They were backed by a guitar and drums on about half of their numbers. The drums overwhelmed their voices on several occasions making their incredible vocals difficult to hear. Late in the set it appeared that Fennecken’s microphone was not working during the Disney medley. Despite the audio challenges, Fennecken projected to ensure their sound was not totally lost. Credit their theatrical training for giving them that ability to perform through a sound challenge. Finally, there were a couple of arrangements that worked less successfully during their show. Hogan told the audience, that T.3’s tour was named “Option Up” because they create their arrangement by ‘optioning up the key’ to give them their unique sound while keeping the melody of the songs that the listener knows and loves. On the numbers that were less successful, their complex arrangement went too far beyond the melody of the original composition. None of these criticisms are meant to diminish T.3's amazing performance.  

T.3 selected a local St. Louis guitarist, Joey Ferber, to open their show. Feber told the audience that while this was his Sheldon Music Hall debut as a solo artist that he had had the opportunity to play in the historic room as a high schooler with University City High School’s jazz band. Ferber is a skilled jazz guitarist with a sound that is reminiscent of a combination of Sting, Ed SHeeran, and Johnny Cash

T.3’s performance at The Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis was an extremely enjoyable evening of unforgettable music. The well-rehearsed 90-minute show flew by in an instant. Fennecken, Hogan, and Smith’s electric stage presence and mellifluous voices combined to create a truly memorable experience. These three gentlemen are skilled performers and song writers who know how to put on a phenomenal show.  

Do not miss your opportunity to see T.3’s Option Up Tour. Click the link below to purchase tickets for T.3’s upcoming tour dates:  

December 8th – St. Louis, MO – Sheldon Concert Hall 

December 9th – Carmel, IN – Feinstein's 

December 10th – Louisville, KY – Kentucky PAC 

December 12th – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre 

December 15th – Pittsburgh PA – City Winery 

December 16th – Philadelphia, PA – City Winery 

December 17th – New York, NY – City Winery 

December 18th – Boston, MA – City Winery 

"Option Up" the new EP Album from T.3, featuring their original song "Dilly, Dilly" is avialable on SNC Records. 


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