For night three of CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium on Saturday night (June 10), fans were ready to dance. The day was warmest day so far in the festival, and attendees were ready to get a “drink in their hands” and “dance the dirt” off their boots.
Tracy Lawrence kicked off the music on the big stage. He beamed out at the crowd as they sang every word to his iconic “You Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” “Alibis” and “Time Marches On.” Nothing compared to the reaction to Lawrence’s 2003 hit “Paint Me A Birmingham.”
After Lawrence left fans ready for more hits, Jason Aldean delivered. He let the crowd know he was going to make the most of his 30-minute set and he did just that.
Stadium attendees stayed on their feet with their fists in the air for “Tattoos On This Town,” “Fly Over States” and “Trouble With A Heartbreak.” He also played his newest single from his upcoming album, “Try That In A Small Town.”
Aldean guessed he had been performing at CMA Fest for 16 years. The loyalty of his hard-earned fans showed when he thrilled them with 2010’s “My Kinda Party,” 2009’s “She’s Country” and 2005’s “Hicktown.” When Aldean said goodnight, the crowd was thoroughly satisfied.
On the platform stage last night, Ian Munsick and Alana Springsteen were the new artists getting the chance to play to a stadium-sized crowd. Munsick brought “the west to the rest,” opting to play his hilarious “Barn Burner” and his duet with Cody Johnson, “Long Live Cowgirls.” Springsteen sounded beautiful on “You Don’t Deserve A Country Song” and “Amen,” complete with a cell-phone lighter response from the crowd.
The next act on the big stage, Little Big Town, has been playing CMA Fest since 2002. The foursome sounded wonderful as always and consistently smiled out at the fans who were singing the words back to the award-winning group.
After kicking their set off with “Boondocks,” Little Big Town delivered hit after hit, including “Little White Church,” “Better Man” and “Girl Crush.” Nissan Stadium attendees particuarly loved the group’s 2020 tune “Wine, Beer, Whiskey,” which including a fun mariachi moment.
The band’s Karen Fairchild, Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet ended their set with gratitude for country music fans. “We’ve been a band for 24 years,” Fairchild said before their last song. “Thanks to country music fans like you, we get to do this for a living.”
Little Big Town then closed their set with a song dedicated to the fans, “Friends Of Mine.”
Another leading country group, Old Dominion, was next up to take the stage. “What a beautiful night to be together,” marveled band leader Matthew Ramsey.
The band kept the energy high throughout their set, playing feel-goods “Make It Sweet,” “One Man Band,” “Snapback” and “Hotel Key.”
Fans knew all the words to their rising single “Memory Lane.” Old Dominion ended the night with back-to-back fan favorites, “Song For Another Time” and “I Was On A Boat That Day.”
Jon Pardi‘s entire set was a highlight of the night.
Fans danced in the aisles to the new Grand Ole Opry member’s “Heartache On The Dance Floor” and “Tequila Little Time.” They sang to each other on Pardi’s “Night Shift,” “Your Heart Or Mine” and “Last Night Lonely.”
When Pardi closed his set with “Head Over Boots,” the crowd was still on their feet and wanting more.
The night’s closing act, Eric Church, took a creative risk with his seven-song set, which received mixed reactions from fans with some praising Church for one of the more unique, artistic sets at CMA Fest and others left missing hearing the singer’s hits.
After opening with a rousing “Country Music Jesus,” the entertainer played a few deep cuts, including “Bad Mother Trucker” and “Hangin’ Around” in a bluesy, funky style, which he also employed for his 2011 hit “Drink In My Hand.”
Church’s next selection was a cover of Little Feat‘s “Sailing Shoes,” which turned into “Cold One” from his 2014 album The Outsiders.
After letting the eager crowd know that he planned to play late into the night a few moments earlier, Church played “Smoke A Little Smoke,” said “Thank you, Nashville,” and walked off stage. When the lights came on, there were audible boos from some fans in Nissan Stadium who wanted more.
CMA Fest will come to a close with tonight’s show (June 11), featuring music from Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw and Ashley McBryde.
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