Ed and I left Broadway and headed across the bridge over to Nissan Stadium. By the time we got over there our section, 136, was in the shade.
Mayor Megan Barry came out to speak and welcomed everyone to Nashville and let everyone in on the fact that CMT has picked up the tv show Nashville for it’s next season. Lots of cheers erupted on that note.
Frankie Ballard broke out his electric guitar for his rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner”. I think everyone had expected him to sing so when he did it this way it was a very cool surprise or at least I thought it was and in very true Frankie style. Sometimes I think he’d rather play as sing.
Clint Black was the first perfomer for the evening. He released his first album in 1989. He released a new album in September, the first in 10 years. His beautiful wife, Lisa Hartman Black came out to duet with him on “You Still Get to Me”.
We moved right on to Chris Stapleton who started his set with “Nobody to Blame”. Chris’ songs aren’t bad but SiriusXM The Highway has worn them out and all the hype surrounding him has gone on for far too long. I hate seeing him live because it annoys the crap out of me how his wife Morganne, can’t ever look at the audience, she had to stare at him through the whole set. Chris is a man of few words so there’s not much talking during his set. Even when he went to introduce his band he sung the introductions which got to be very annoying by the end.
Sam Hunt was next on stage and everyone who has read my blogs knows that I’ve never been a fan of Sam’s live performances. I think he is a very talented songwriter and I’ve said for awhile now he needed to just stick to that. So I was not looking forward to Sam’s set. Was I in for a treat….and a shock. His first song was “Leave the Night On” and as he progressed through that song, it wasn’t even like we were watching Sam. He was performing totally different. He was even dressed really normal. As he went into the next song, “Raised On It”, there was none of the running, jumping, siezure-like dancing we had seen before. The crowd got into his set and so did I!
From “House Party” to “Take Your Time” I stood in amazement. If this had been the first time seeing Sam perform I, like the rest of the crowd, would have really liked him. A piano was brought out and he played while singing his newest single “Make You Miss Me”. The last song was “Break Up in a Small Town”. Sam went down on the lowest platform and handed out drumsticks and shook hands with fans. Throughout his performance he talked very little and at the end he simply said “Thank you Nashville, Tennessee. I’m Sam Hunt”.
Ed and I were simply blown away. Wait. What? We liked Sam Hunt? Miracles never cease. So what’s brought about this new and different person? Is it being out doing stadium shows with Kenny Chesney? Who knows, but I like it.
One of the highlights for Friday night was Eric Church. He came out and did “Knives of New Orleans” which was a bit of a surprise, a pleasant surprise but still a surprise. There was very little talk from Eric throughout his set. He did “Mr. Misunderstood”, “Record Year”, “Chattanooga Lucy” and finished his set out with “Mixed Drinks About Feelings” with some assistance from the beautiful voice of Joanna Cotten. Wow! What a gutsy move on Eric’s part to come out do all songs from the Mr. Misunderstood album. Comments around us were a bit negative, wishing for other songs. People took to social media to show their disappointment and to comment on the performance that some felt lacked “entertainment”. Oh well, he’s Eric Church, guess he can do what he wants to. All the songs sounded great.
Not on the schedule, but added in for the ABC special Chris Janson came out to do his single “Buy Me a Boat”. The audience went wild when Chris said “you’re about to see a 135 pound white guy play this harmonica like you ain’t never seen” and then did a harmonica solo that was incredible.
Justin Moore also made a surprise appearance and delivered his single “You Look Like I Need a Drink”.
Both Chris and Justin returned to sing “Born to Boogie” with the next scheduled performer, Hank Williams, Jr. Eric Church reappeared to do “Are You Ready for the Country?” with Bocephus. Hank closed his set out with “Family Tradition”. We said we could mark that off our bucket list, singing along to “Family Tradition” with Hank and 65,000 other rowdy country fans. Was pretty freaking cool!!
Carrie Underwood was the night’s last performance. She looked beautiful as she appeared on stage in holey jeans, black tank, shoulder wrap and black toeless boots. She wasted no time with her set as she walked onto stage singing “Last Name”. She blew through “Undo It”, “Wasted”, her current single “Church Bells”. She blew us all away with her harmonica playing on “Choctaw County Affair”, a talent she apparently learned just for this song and her Storyteller Tour. The last three songs of her set were “Blown Away”, “Before He Cheats” and “Something in the Water”.