Luke Bryan Pays Tribute to Randy Travis in Off-Script CMA Fest Set: Watch

Laura Roberts/Invision/AP
Luke Bryan performs at the 2018 CMA Music Festival at Nissan Stadium on June 10, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn. 

Luke Bryan had a couple surprises in store for fans at the final night of CMA Fest 2018 Sunday (June 10), but what he didn't know was he also had a surprise waiting: Mr. Randy Travis

As the "Most People Are Good" singer began his festival-closing set, he spotted the country legend sitting in the front row -- and suddenly his whole set list changed course. After starting out with "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)," "Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset" and "Most People Are Good," Bryan honored Travis' attendance by singing the classic "On the Other Hand."

“I’ve been wanting to sing to you for a long time, buddy," Bryan said after the song, pointing at Travis. "That was unrehearsed -- I didn't know you were going to be here, but I hope you enjoy it. I love you.”

With Travis beaming following the tribute, Bryan decided he wasn't done honoring his predecessor. “We might just need to make it a Randy Travis hour,” he declared. “How much time do we have?”

Whatever he was told about timing, Bryan disregarded any curfew and began a rendition of "Diggin' Up Bones," much to the delight of both Travis and the sold-out Nissan Stadium crowd. Bryan went further off-script after his Randy tribute, adding three more songs of his own to what was supposed to be a six-song set ("It takes me eight songs to get warmed up," he said).

Before the stadium show began, Travis was honored with the inaugural Cracker Barrel Country Legend Award during Warner Music Nashville night at Ascend Amphitheater. A $5,000 donation was made to the CMA Foundation in his name, and Warner artist Michael Ray sang Travis' hit "Forever and Ever, Amen."

Watch clips of Luke Bryan's Randy Travis tribute below. 

 

Festivals 2018