I got to sing with Lady Antebellum Monday night! Ok, so did everyone else in the audience at the Schermerhorn, but it was still special, right?
The occasion was the band’s elegant On This Winter’s Night concert (Dec. 3), where one highlight was the crowd sing-along of “Silent Night.” The event presented by SunTrust was being taped by Taillight TV for broadcast tonight (12/5) on GAC at 7 p.m. CT and throughout the month.
Backed by the symphony, the band offered Christmas favorites and shared personal memories about the beloved songs. The set list, taken from their album On This Winter’s Night, included reverent classics such as “The First Noel,” which showcased the sweet innocence in Hillary Scott’s voice, and a an artful arrangement of “Silent Night” featuring a unique counter melody written by Charles Kelley.
The most fun was the uptempo chestnuts that inspired a sea of fans to clap in time to “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and “Blue Christmas.” As usual, Lady A seemed to be having as much fun onstage as the audience. The trio performed “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and be-bopped along on “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”
The holiday album was recorded this summer with producer Paul Worley. Between songs, the band members explained that because holiday music was such an important part of their youths, they took the project very seriously, hoping this album would become part of fans’ holiday traditions.
The album’s title track is an original penned by Lady A with frequent collaborator Tom Douglas. For the performance, students from the W.O. Smith School of Music joined them onstage.
The set was a twinkling winter wonderland; a mix of Christmas evergreens and bare-branched trees adorned with lights.
Dave Haywood strummed a red and white acoustic guitar, and I wondered if he spent as much time selecting that shade of red as he did choosing the color for the grand piano he took on the road this year. Joining him in the audience were several family members from Augusta, Ga., including his 91-year-old grandfather. He and new bride Kelli are starting their own traditions, including trying to perfect a family candy recipe.
“We felt like kids at Christmas all year, while we were on tour playing to our fans,” exclaimed Scott. Her family was watching in the audience too, including little sis, Rylee, who is acting in a production of Miracle on 34th Street.
Sporting spectacles and a long scarf, Professor Kelley explained that he can’t wear contacts because he is having Lasik surgery this month. He and the others good-naturedly tried to keep the audience entertained during lulls in production (where the pre-taped packages will air during the television special). Kelley recalled his cover band days and offered snippets of hits like “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Someone in the crowd suggested the band write a new song on the spot, but he quipped, “I’m pretty sure we’d have to split the publishing 2000 ways.”
Despite the band’s best efforts, the show lost significant momentum for the in-house audience during the multiple breaks. They closed the show with their biggest hits.
A four-piece a cappella group called Breath of Soul opened the evening, getting the crowd warmed up with fresh versions of hits “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Superstition”—driven by a talented beatboxing vocal percussionist.