Luke Bryan Rolls Out Hit After Hit at Star-Studded Nashville Concert: Live Review
Luke Bryan show at Nashville's Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday, July 11, gave a sell-out crowd exactly what they wanted to hear, with many high-energy moments mixed in with a few curve balls that made many in the crowd feel like they didn't want the night to end.
First up in the Tennessee sun was Dustin Lynch. The Broken Bow recording artist opened up the show with a brief-yet-impressive set that included his hit singles "Cowboys and Angels" and "Where It's at (Yep, Yep)," as well as his current radio hit "Hell of a Night" -- bringing the crowd to its feet.
Next up on the bill was Thomas Rhett. If there is a better case of an artist in transition than the Georgia native, you'd be hard pressed to find one. While his early hits were more bro-country type songs like "Something to Do with My Hands" and "Get Me Some of That," the recent success of "Makes Me Wanna" has taken Rhett in an R&B style (a natural fit considering his South Georgia upbringing) that he seems to flourish in, given his current hit "Crash and Burn." Both tracks were highlights of his performance, as well as the blistering country funk of "Southside." He also surprised the crowd with a cover of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk," which got the audience dancing all the way up in the rafters of the stadium.
While Rhett gave the fans plenty of high-octane moments, Randy Houser could have stayed in one place and just sang to please the masses. The singer, long a favorite around town, gave one of the best performances that anyone has seen in town this year -- or any year, for that matter. Whether it be the uptempo "Boots On" or "How Country Feels," or an emotionally-charged acoustic version of "Like a Cowboy," which featured a note from the singer that I am still in total awe of," Houser came to play in the SEC stadium and delivered the performance equivalent of an 80-yard bomb. There is no reason that Houser shouldn't receive some consideration for male vocalist of the year from the CMA and the ACM. He's simply that damn good.
As the sun began to set in Nashville, the star power continued to shine, with Florida Georgia Line taking the stage next. While the duo has never qualified as a critical darling, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelly give the fans what they want to hear night in and night out. The duo kept things rolling with one hit after another -- with a powerful version of "Dirt" and the crowd favorite "Party People." Asking the crowd to take out their cell phones, the stadium became a sea of bright lights while the guys performed "Get Your Shine On," before closing their set with the summer rhythms of "Sun Daze" and their mega-hit "Cruise."
Just like FGL knows their audience, so does Bryan. Having earned his wings as a headliner opening for the likes of Kenny Chesney, the Georgia native wasted no time in getting the crowd on his side. He took to the stage with a vengeance, performing his current single "Kick the Dust Up" and rolled out one major hit after another, including "All My Friends Say," "Someone Else Calling You Baby," and "Drink a Beer," which may have been the emotional centerpiece of the night.
But Bryan threw a few surprises in the mix. He brought Lynch, Rhett, and Houser back out for a special jam session that included bits of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" and Maroon 5's "Sugar," which featured another standout performance from Houser. Florida Georgia Line returned to the stage next for an impromptu collaboration of Alabama's "Mountain Music" and Journey's "Faithfully."
Bryan returned to the solo spotlight next with a stirring performance of "Do I," and cruised to the finish line throughout the rest of the show, closing with "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)," and of course, many of the female persuasion in the audience were doing just that as the show came to a close -- after over five hours!
As Bryan has obviously studied Chesney's expertise at entertaining a crowd -- he might also need to put in a phone call to him. It's a pretty safe bet that the singer might need to work on his acceptance speeches a little -- as a second straight CMA entertainer of the year prize come Nov. 4 looks to be very likely. It's Bryan's moment and he's definitely taking advantage of it.