One of his early hits might have been titled “Rain Is A Good Thing,” but Wednesday (Oct. 1) night’s opening date of Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour 2014 didn’t feature a single drop of precipitation.
Instead, it was a perfect Autumn night for the crowd of 15,000-plus that descended upon Maple Lane Farms in tiny Greenback, Tenn., (population 1,064) for a concert that had Bryan playing to his strengths — high energy on stage and a penchant for picking material that his audience can no doubt identify with.
Kicking off his 90-minute set with 2013’s chart-topping “That’s My Kind Of Night,” it was a symbolic selection for Bryan, who had the audience in the palm of his hand. The night turned into one sing-along after another, with the Capitol Nashville selecting singles that ran the gamut of his recording career, ranging from uptempo honky-tonkers such as “All My Friends Say” to more dramatic ballads like “I Don’t Want This Night To End” and the current single “Roller Coaster.”
The Loudon County crowd started screaming from the opening bars of “Rain” and continued to make noise on Maple Lane Farms the entire concert. Songs that received some of the strongest response of the night included 2010’s “Someone Else Calling You Baby” and this year’s “Play It Again.” Throughout the evening, Bryan’s energy was contagious, as the singer captivated the female demographic with his trademark stage moves.
Opening act Cole Swindell — a one-time Bryan employee — came out to handle the Florida Georgia Line part on “This Is How We Roll,” which brought out a thunderous reaction from the fans. Bryan attempted to close his set with “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” but the words proved to be too prophetic, as the crowd begged him back for more — including “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and “Play It Again,” sending off fans into the East Tennessee night on a high note.
Competition for the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year prize next month is going to be tough — but on opening night of his Farm Tour, Bryan proved that his 2013 win of the trophy from the Academy of Country Music was no fluke. And, he just might have to dust some space off the mantle for another one in about five weeks.