Luke Bryan, Alabama, Tim McGraw And Others Kick Off CMA Fest LP Field Shows
June 6, 2014 at 8:32 AM (PT)
After a welcome from COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION (CMA) CEO SARAH TRAHERN and TENNESSEE GOVERNOR BILL HASLAM, the first of four nightly "CMA MUSIC FEST" concerts at LP FIELD got underway last NIGHT (6/5), with the iconic group ALABAMA cranking up the way-back machine.
RANDY OWEN, JEFF COOK and TEDDY GENTRY ripped through a four-song set of classics which instantly became an exercise in audience participation. "If You're Gonna Play In TEXAS," "Dixieland Delight," "I'm In A Hurry" and "Mountain Music" all proved timeless, even among the mostly younger crowd of females decked out in daisy duke shorts, belly button-revealing tops and cowboy boots.
Those ladies and their dates however, were really there to see LUKE BRYAN. The format's biggest male star did not disappoint, gyrating through a seven-song set of recent smash hits, four of which came from his Platinum-selling “Crash My Party” album. BRYAN introduced one of them, “Roller Coaster,” as his next single.
BRANTLEY GILBERT got the crowd rocking even harder with four songs, a lot of attitude and a little help from his friends. THOMAS RHETT and JUSTIN MOORE joined GILBERT for “Small Town Throwdown.” GILBERT’s final song, the anthemic “Country Must Be Country Wide” seemed self-evident, based on how the crowd sang along.
Up next was DIERKS BENTLEY, whose attitude was more geared to having a good time and covering as much ground on stage as humanly possible. “5-1-5-0” got things rolling with “Tip It On Back,” and “Drunk On A Plane” proving instantly recognizable. When BENTLEY sang, “Am I The Only One (Who Wants To Have Fun)” it was obvious from the crowd’s reaction the answer was a resounding, “no.”
At one point during his set, BENTLEY invited two girls on stage to have a cold one with him; one told DIERKS she didn't drink, the other was more interested in a spontaneous selfie with she, her friend and BENTLEY. Both girls looked too young to drink anyway, so after obliging them with a photo-op, DIERKS pounded down what looked like a MILLER LITE on his own.
RASCAL FLATTS combined new material (“Rewind,” ‘Payback’) with familiar tunes (“Bless The Broken Road’) but also reminded the crowd they can crank out great harmonies with the best of ‘em. Encouraging their band to join them center stage, FLATTS and their crew performed a fun, solid acapella version of PHARRELL WILLIAMS’ “Happy.”
TIM MCGRAW energetically closed out THURSDAY night’s show combining new and familiar songs and dispelling any rumors of marital issues with wife FAITH HILL, as the two enjoyed an onstage kiss.
Three more nights of star power await fans coming to LP FIELD TONIGHT (6/6), TOMORROW (6/7) and SUNDAY (6/8).
All four days are being taped for an ABC-TV Special to air later this SUMMER, with LITTLE BIG TOWN hosting (NET NEWS 5/28).