Earlier this week, Country Music Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap played his final show in Music City.
Milsap was joined by a host of artist admirers for the occasion, each of whom took a shot at one of the country, pop and R&B-stylings that gave Milsap his 40 No. 1 hits. Country radio mavericks Storme Warren and Bill Cody were the emcees for the three-hour marathon of hits. Sixwire was the outstanding house band.
One by one, artists appeared on the Bridgestone Arena stage to pay tribute to Milsap. Most all of them cited him as a hero and musical influence.
Country hitmaker Keith Urban gave a tender performance of “Out Where The Bright Lights Are Glowing,” Tracy Lawrence took on Milsap’s cheeky “Daydreams About Night Things,” Terri Clark performed “My Love” and Trace Adkins honored the legend with “She Keeps the Home Fires Burning.”
Sara Evans gave a powerful performance of “Let’s Take The Long Way Around The World.” Mark Wills sounded great on “Don’t You Know How Much I Love You.” Ricky Skaggs pulled out “Let My Love Be Your Pillow,” The Gatlins performed “Back On My Mind Again,” Ray Stevens took on “(I’m) A Stand By My Woman Man” and Lorrie Morgan sang “(I’d Be) A Legend In My Time.”
Hitmaker Scotty McCreery charmed on a Milsap favorite “Pure Love,” while Breland showed off the R&B flair of Milsap’s catalog with “Any Day Now.” Justin Moore took on “What Goes On When The Sun Goes Down,” Hunter Hayes performed “He’s Got You” and Randy Houser sounded awesome on “Don’t You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me).”
Artist from other genres came out to support, too. Kelly Clarkson did a fabulous job with “It Was Almost Like a Song,” and the Los Lonely Boys were one of the best performances of the night, taking on “All Is Fair in Love and War” and “Prisoner of the Highway.” Steven Curtis Chapman touched our hearts with Milsap’s “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life.” The McCrary Sisters thrilled with “Stand By Me,” and Band of Heathens did an awesome job with “Houston Solution.”
Beloved Nashville musician Gordon Mote gave one of night’s best performances with “Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night),” as did Phil Vassar with “Happy Happy Birthday Baby.” Elizabeth Cook sounded great on “Nobody Likes Sad Songs,”
When it came time for the man of the hour to make his appearance, fans were on their feet. After he was placed at the piano, Milsap jumped right in, starting his performance with the enduring “Stranger In My House” before transitioning right into “We’re An American Band” and “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me.”
Every now and then, a smile would touch Milsap’s face, and he would say, “That sounds real good boys,” to the band. Milsap fans young and old basked in the charisma of the 80-year-old Hall of Famer who has impacted all genres of music for the last 50 years.
Milsap thrilled with “Smoky Mountain Rain” and “America The Beautiful” before the whole artist cast came to join him for his last number, “Honky Tonk Women.”
While Milsap plans to continue recording and playing some shows, the night served as a special finale to his time performing in Nashville. After the legend waved goodbye to Bridgestone Arena, fans filed out into the street singing their favorite Milsap tunes. We certainly wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
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