Luke Bryan is not just arbitrarily ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year. He works hard for his money and fans. If there were any unbelievers, Saturday night’s (July 11) Kick The Dust Up Tour at the Vanderbilt Stadium settled the score.
The show put Bryan’s name down among a handful of all-genre artists who have sold-out the Nashville football field, including Dave Matthews Band, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones and U2.
Truss bridges spanned the length of the field for the country show—high above the standing-room pits—transporting performers to a satellite stage in front of the sold-out crowd. Fireworks kicked off Bryan’s set and reignited during various songs throughout the evening, ending in a 10-minute-plus finale. Flame throwers also torched the already sweltering stadium.
The sun didn’t completely set over the top bleacher seats until well into the evening, resulting in Nashville News 2 reporting over 300 concert goers were treated for heat-related illness. Many had tailgated before, and enjoyed beers in the liquor-less venue.
“What is with this heat?” exclaimed Bryan, who pressed on to deliver a 90-minute set. Those titles ranged from 2007 debut single “All My Friends Say” to his string of No. 1 hits after 2010, including “Rain Is A Good Thing,” “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” “That’s My Kind of Night,” and “Play It Again.”
The staging peeled back to spotlight each opening act as the sun dipped into the night. Dustin Lynch sported the only cowboy hat while BBR labelmate Randy Houser belted his signature vibrato during his set, featuring a cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.” BMLG labelmates Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett brought the pop-country flavor. Rhett ditched his boots for some gold sneakers to show off his hip-hop dance moves, featuring his latest “Crash and Burn” and a pop cover of “Uptown Funk.”
Direct support, FGL, toured through hits from the past three years, including Big Loud Mountain EP title track It’z Just What We Do to a current string of hits including “Dirt,” “Sun Daze” and “Sippin’ On Fire.”
“Everybody on this stage moved to this town to follow a country music dream,” Bryan told the crowd as he brought all his buddies back to the stage for a shot of tequila and to cover some pop songs (theme song from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Style,” “Bad Blood,” “Sugar”). “This is for you making [that dream] possible.”
Bryan and his band of six proved their relevancy with additional pop incorporation with “Talk Dirty” (Jason DeRulo), “Dynamite” (Tao Cruz), “Get Lucky” (Daft Punk), and “Faithfully” (Journey). Concertgoers were thrilled.
And that is what makes Bryan such a stand-out. He is a 21st century sensation with an understanding of contemporary influences, and an aw-shucks, boy-next-door sex appeal.
Over the past five years, his concert experience has exponentially grown to sold-out stadium events, continuing to impress fans from multiple generations and genre affiliations. That energy and enthusiasm doesn’t seem to be cooling off anytime soon.
Bryan’s 2015 tour will continue with more stadiums throughout October. He’ll sidetrack with Farm Tour 2015 in the fall and another winter run of Crash My Playa in Mexico, in January. His fifth studio album Kill The Lights, will be in stores Friday, August 7.
More dates at lukebryan.com.
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