Luke Bryan’s What Makes You Country stadium tour kicked off in the heartland of the Ozarks in Springfield, MO this past Friday. Luke Bryan is currently touring his latest release What Makes You Country across the United States with dates running through September. Springfield’s excitement could hardly be contained at the near sold-out JQH Arena, and the audience gave openers Kip Moore and The Cadillac Three a warm welcome.
Blue lights illuminated behind the curtains, giving off an effect of being beneath ocean waves. The theatrical entrance rose anticipation as the country singer magically appeared on the catwalk while introducing “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day.” Fans cheered wildly as Bryan strummed away at his acoustic guitar, and it was obvious he was happy to be on stage. Smiling from one ear to another, he excitedly asked, “Where ya at, Springfield?!” Luke Bryan was a gracious host and handed out beers during the third song in “Play It Again.” The life of the party was just beginning as he sprayed the crowd with a fizzed beer at the end of the song.
Confidence oozed from Bryan’s pores as he proudly displayed his goofy dance moves, shaking his hips for the ladies. The high fan interaction kept all night. Red, white and blue spot lights highlighted the venue as Bryan grabbed his electric guitar for “Someone Else Calling You Baby,” which appeared to be a fan favorite. He clapped along to the bass drum as it rumbled through the arena walls, jumping along to the outro/intro transitioning into “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” Girls blushed as Bryan continued to shake his hips in jeans and a black tee. Fans swayed along to melancholy track “Most People Are Good” as Bryan gave all his passion in the performance.
The banter was one of the most I’ve witnessed at a live show; Luke Bryan really knows how to entertain his crowd. “Springfield, Missouri. Oh my goodness! How are y’all feeling tonight? Home of my Bass Pro Shops. Home of the land of the Ozarks right here. Welcome to the stage Jason Bateman. I’m just playing, I got you! How many of y’all are watching Ozark by the way? Y’all crazy around here.” He chuckled and said how happy he was to have started the tour off in the heart of Springfield. He even had a playful argument/told a story about his bus driver once upon a time, telling the crowd “You gotta say Missoura!” Laughter ensued. “Whatever makes you country, be proud of it,” leading into the title track off the new record.
The country singer grabbed his electric guitar while a country landscape panned beautifully across the giant screen in the background. Arms waved in the air as fans danced along to the marching beat. Things heated up with a little pyro, something I wasn’t quite expecting but was a nice touch. Fans got fired up for drum heavy “Kick The Dust Up,” full of life and fun. “Aw, hell.” said Bryan as the bass rumbled against piano and keys. Low red and purple lights set the mood for the intimate track “Strip It Down,” and a winding guitar closed off the soft and sensual serenade.
The life of the party continued with his favorite party song of all time. Everyone in unison sang Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” It was almost like watching Bryan sing along to a track at the top of his lungs while driving down a dirt road. He sang the main parts, cued the musical ticks, and everything in-between. Fans loved the sing-a-long track, chanting along and letting loose. “I told y’all that’s my jam.”
The chatter continued as Bryan admitted to being a little out of tour shape. “I’m sucking wind up here… I’ve been off for a few months, and all I’ve done is drink beer and hunt deer. I’m gonna deal with my personal troubles and get back on the dang treadmill… I want to thank you all for spending your hard-earned money here on a Friday night.” A fan was holding up a sign that hit his funny bone, and he couldn’t keep his composure enough to finish the end of track “Drunk On You.” “Y’all got me cracking up, hold on.” And that surely wasn’t the last of the banter, calling all nurses, teachers, party crashers, and “Country Girl”s for the lively song.
Fans continued to live in the moment and dance the night away. Luke Bryan gave a performance that even those not-so-country fans can’t deny as not enjoyable. The humble and thankful country star is undeniably an entertainer, captivating his audience and leaving the crowd wanting more.
Catch Luke Bryan’s “What Makes You Country” Tour across the U.S.
February 18 – Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center
February 22 – State College, PA @ Bryce Jordan Center
February 23 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
February 24 – Charlottesville, VA @ John Paul Jones Arena
March 9 – Lafayette, LA @ Cajundome
March 10 – New Orleans, LA @ Smoothie King Center
April 6 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater
June 14 – Charleston, WV @ Charleston Civic Center
June 21 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Coral Sky Amphitheatre
June 22 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
June 28 – Raleigh, NC @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
June 29 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
August 2 – Omaha, NE @ CenturyLink Center
August 17 – Syracuse, NY @ Lakeview Amphitheater
August 18 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
August 19 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center
August 24 – Indianapolis, IN @ Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
August 26 – Kansas City, MO @Sprint Center
September 8 – Dallas, TX @ Starplex Pavilion
September 13 – Rapid City, SD @ Rushmore Plaza Barnett Arena
September 14 – Billings, MT @ Rimrock Auto Arena
September 20 – Boise, ID @ Ford Idaho Center
September 21 – Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre
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