Though the success story of Rascal Flatts goes far beyond sheer numbers, those statistics can be pretty staggering. The superstar trio brought their "Changed" Tour to Nashville's Bridgestone Arena Friday night, and in a pre-show ceremony, were given a reminder of just how successful they have been from a touring aspect.
Brian O'Connell, president of Live Nation Country Touring, took to the stage with the Grand Ole Opry members to present them with a commemorative ticket to celebrate seven million tickets sold since they became a headlining act back in 2004. More than 13,000 of those tickets sold were in attendance in Nashville that evening, and needless to say, they received more than their monies worth.
Edens Edge took to the stage first, playing a short set before the CMA-nominated Eli Young Band took over. Playing crowd favorites such as "Crazy Girl" and "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," the Texas-based group showed why their music has been so well received by radio and fans alike.
Next up was Little Big Town. Having been recording for a decade, the vocal group delivered a set that could be compared to a well-oiled machine. Delivering prior hits such as "Bring It On Home," "Little White Church," and their 2005 breakthrough "Boondocks," they also dazzled with a bluegrass-ish cover of Lady Gaga's "Born That Way." Their recent chart-topper "Pontoon" was also a highlight. There's a reason that almost everyone in Nashville is so happy for this group's much-deserved success as of late - the cream always rises to the top!
Still, the night belonged to the headliners. Playing in front of a hometown crowd, Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus, and Joe Don Rooney demonstrated why they have been such a fan favorite since breaking onto the charts with "Prayin' For Daylight" in 2000.
The trio's harmonies have only gotten higher and tighter over time, and they took command of the stage from the opening notes and didn't let loose until the show was over. Playing a variety of their hits from the past dozen years, some of the highlights included uptempo crowd favorites such as "Fast Cars And Freedom," their recent hit "Banjo," and "Summer Nights," which received one of the biggest responses of the night - in spite of the cool fall temperatures outside in downtown Nashville.
Fans of their ballads weren't disappointed, either, as they included their current single "Come Wake Me Up," as well as "These Days," which was their very first number one song.
And, it appears that they will stay high atop the charts for a while, as during the pre-show press conference, Big Machine's Scott Borchetta announced the band's affiliation with the label will continue.