Saturday, April 29th we rolled into Knoxville, TN to Thompson-Boling Arena for the Dig Your Roots
Morgan Wallen was the first opener. Morgan was on the sixth season of NBC’s The Voice. We didn’t watch that show so the first time I ever heard Morgan was in September 2014 at the Tennessee Valley Fair in Knoxville. Morgan opened for Cole Swindell and I was very impressed with him. We saw him again at the fair in September 2015 and still really liked him. Finally a few months ago SiriusXM The Highway started playing his single “The Way I Talk” and we were thrilled to finally hear him getting a chance on the radio. We were even more excited to find out he was going to be an opener for FGL.
About 7:00 Morgan ran out on stage wearing a Tennessee Vols jersey. You could tell he was thrilled to be at home singing. His first song was “Bout To” which was very appropriate I thought for his first song as an opener cause alot of people probably didn’t know him. About half way through the song I was totally blown away and impressed. Morgan was performing like he had been singing in front of crowds this big for years. He had the crowd into it, was taking selfies with people down in the pit. He owned the stage.
Morgan did four songs in his opening set, finishing up with, of course, “The Way I Talk”. I really hope his career keeps getting bigger and bigger and we keep hearing his music on the radio and we can say we saw him when he was doing the Tennessee Valley Fair.
Next up at 7:25 Chris Lane came out on stage. First time we saw Chris was in December, 2013 at 8 Seconds Saloon in Indy. He opened for Tyler Farr. We’ve seen Chris a couple other times as well and always liked his show. He’s had several songs being played on SiriusXM The Highway recently. Chris really has an FGL vibe to him, guess that’s why he fits into their tour so well. He can rock out on songs but he can definitely slow it down and let you hear just how great his voice his. Very interactive with the crowd and got everyone on their feet singing along, especially when he broke out into N’sync’s “Bye Bye Bye”. Chris is a great artist who I expect will be hearing from for a long time.
At 8:00 the third and final opener came out. Dustin Lynch! We have seen Dustin so many times. He’s always got a huge smile on his face and brings alot of energy into his show. He appeared on a riser and stayed up there through most of his opening song “Hell of a Night”. He rolled through his catalog of songs, “Mind Reader”, “Name On It”, “Seeing Red”, his current single “Small Town Boy” to name a few. He announced that he is working on his third album which got lots of cheers from the audience. Something that really stood out to me was that he was the only one of the night that introduced his band and kind of showcased them by letting his guitar players do a rock medley. He finished his 55 minute set out with “Where It’s At”.
About 9:20, Flo Rida’s “My House” started playing and we knew it was time for FGL to hit the stage. The back drops were up but we knew they’d be lowered from the ceiling since we’d seen the show a couple times but it was funny to see how excited everyone around us got when the back drops fell and they saw BK and Tyler up on platforms suspended from the ceiling. They were singing “This Is How We Roll” as they were lowered to the floor.
If you’ve read my other blogs about FGL you know Ed and I are huge fans of these two so I won’t go on and on in this blog with more of the same. They seem like genuinely good guys who are very humbled by where they are today given how they started out. After one song, Tyler noticed a little boy in the pit who had been singing his heart out and new every word to the first few songs so he and BK signed his guitar and he gave it to the little boy and told him to start learning how to play it. What a cool thing to do.
During the show they made their way to the back of the floor where a small stage was set up. They did something a bit different from the other two shows we’d seen in this tour. They said they wanted to do some songs that only people who’d been following them for a long time might know. They did “Dayum Baby”, “Hell Raising Heat of the Summer” and “Here’s to the Good Times”. Was cool to hear these songs that we used to hear in shows that they don’t do anymore. While on this stage they also did “H.O.L.Y” which they dedicated to their wives.
Towards the end they brought out Morgan, Chris and Dustin to sing “Sun Daze” with them. Apparently earlier in the day Chris had bet Tyler than he couldn’t make a shot from half court and if he did Chris said he’d sing “Sun Daze” on his all fours. So Tyler made the shot and he made Chris hold up his end of the bet. Was pretty funny to see Chris crawling around on the floor while singing. During this song Tyler’s dog, Harley also joined them out on stage. He was so well behaved.
The last song of their regular set was “Get Your Shine On”. They weren’t off the stage for long before they came back out to do an encore. “Party People” kicked the encore off. They did a “Mix tape” with little snips of “Ride With Me”, “Should’a Been a Cowboy” and “Last Resort”. Their hour and a half set ended with “Cruise”.
Tonight we are headed into Nashville to see the first show on Luke Bryan’s “Huntin’, Fishin’, Lovin’ Everyday” Tour so be sure to return in a few days to read that blog.