Review: Luke Bryan Opens Summer 2017 Tour With Sold-Out Nashville Show
Luke Bryan proved that he's worthy of his country superstar status during his Friday night (May 5) show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, the opening night of Bryan's Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day Tour. The Georgia native, who now calls Music City home, sang hit after hit during his sold-out concert, with fans hanging onto every note.
After opening sets by Adam Craig and Brett Eldredge (who will undoubtedly be headlining his own arena tour in the near future), Bryan emerged from behind a transparent stage-to-ceiling screen, perched on a riser located behind his band. Quickly making use of his large stage setup, including a catwalk that allowed him to be surrounded on three sides by fans, Bryan kicked off his set by performing his recent No. 1 hit, "Move," followed by "That's My Kind of Night" and "Kick the Dust Up." During "Rain Is a Good Thing," he removed his signature baseball cap and donned a Nashville Predators hat in its place for the second half of the song.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for selling this place out two nights in a row," Bryan said from the stage. "I moved to this town with a dream. I know a lot of you guys out there tonight, you moved to town to write songs, be a country artist. Keep following your dreams, because I'm a direct example of how dreams can come true."
Bryan continued powering through his hits, including "Crash My Party," "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" and "I See You." As he performed his recent No. 1 song "Fast," images of Bryan's family -- including pictures of the singer with his children and wedding photos featuring his wife Caroline -- flashed on the screens; Bryan started and ended the song alone, just him and his guitar.
After singing a couple more of his biggest songs, including "Roller Coaster" and "All My Friends Say" (during which Bryan tossed cans of beer, from a cooler onstage, into the crowd), Bryan moved to a piano at the end of the stage; his band congregated behind him for a more intimate setting. Together, they covered Alabama's "Mountain Music" and Barry Manilow's "Caroline," followed by Bryan's own "Strip It Down."
That cooler also played into a more serious moment later on in Bryan's set: He sat on it, with his guitar, to sing "Drink a Beer," as fans lit up the arena with cellphone lights.
Fans hoping for a special guest -- this is Music City, after all -- lucked out: Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild ("one of the best singers on planet Earth," Bryan called her) showed up to perform their single "Home Alone Tonight." Bryan didn't allow his duet partner to leave after just one song, though: After doing a shot of tequila onstage, the two sang LBT's mega-hit "Girl Crush."
Moving back to the main stage, Bryan sang his tour's namesake song, "Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day," then capped off the night by singing, appropriately, "I Don't Want This Night to End" and "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)." While most artists exit the stage after their final song, Bryan stayed put, vamping with his band and pouring beer into the crowd. Fans lingered, not wanting to miss a moment of the magic. Clearly, Bryan has learned to capture a crowd, excite a crowd and leave them always -- always -- wanting more.
Bryan's second Nashville show is scheduled for Saturday night (May 6). A list of all of his upcoming tour stops is available on his website.
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