From the dynamic opening acts to his own show full of surprises, Luke Bryan showed why he’s selling out venues across the country. The Georgia-native is not only a talented singer/songwriter and musician, he’s a true entertainer.
The Friday night show at the Yum! Center kicked off with Florida Georgia Line, a group generating a lot of buzz since the release of their Top 20 single “Cruise.” The duo – Brian Kelly from Florida and Tyler Hubbard from Georgia (hence the name) – had some fast-moving, hard-driving tunes that got tremendous crowd response.
They were followed by Thompson Square, the husband/wife duo with the #1 smash hit “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?” who continued the “we-are-definitely-here-to-have-a-good-time” tone of the evening.
Then, it was Luke Bryan’s turn. And from the moment he hit the stage, he made it clear he was there to have fun and take everyone in the sold-out Yum! Center along for the ride. He kicked things off with “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” and followed with a string of his hits like “Country Man,” “Rain Is a Good Thing,” “Drunk on You,” and more.
And while the crowd enjoyed the music – which was exceptional – what made the show even better, was Bryan’s ability to interact with fans and keep things moving at such a quick pace, you had to pay attention so as not to miss anything.
As he sang, Bryan moved all over the extended T-shaped stage that allowed him to get further out onto the arena floor and closer to the crowd. If he wasn’t shaking his hips or raising a hand to the fans in the upper level, he was leaning down and slapping hands with those around the stage, or making eye-contact and nodding or smiling directly at people on the floor.
About thirty minutes into the show, he brought back Florida Georgia Line and Thompson Square and had both duos join him for a rockin’ cover of Bruno Mar’s “Locked Out Of Heaven.” The crowd loved it!
Afterward, members of his band moved some of their instruments (along with equipment cases they used as chairs), to the center of the T-stage. And lest you forget they are a country group, they launched into a short version of “Dueling Banjos.” Bryan noted, “You can’t play this stuff without moonshine!” He grabbed a Mason jar filled with dark colored liquid, took a drink and said, “Sweet Apple Pie, I love it!” He then, passed the jar to other members of his band, introducing them one by one as they took a drink.
Later as the musicians moved their instruments back to the main stage, Bryan sat down at the piano. He said he'd like to play his first No. 1 hit, then began - in his best Justin Bieber voice - singing "If I Was Your Boyfriend," drawing laughter from the crowd before playing his own song.
Between shout-outs to the U.S. military, "The only reason I can stand on this stage and sing to hardworking people is because of those who keep us free," and to those in the arena, "This is the biggest crowd we've played to on the tour this year," the music continued. Bryan played “Spring Break,” “If You Ain’t Here to Party,” “Dirt Road Diary,” and others, and kept fans on their feet and singing the entire time.
It’s easy to see why Bryan, who hit the music scene less than six years ago and just last year was opening for Jason Aldean, is now headlining gigs of his own. Rest assured, you’ll be hearing a lot more about Luke Bryan.