Gary AllanIt was a night of rock-infused country and heartwarming surprises at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium on Thursday, as Gary Allan brought his Get Off on the Pain Tour to Music City. Jack Ingram and the Eli Young Band served as opening acts, with Jack accompanied by a surprise music icon during his act. Surprises continued into Gary's set, as he welcomed two V.I.P.s for a very special performance.

Gary kicked his show off with the tour's title track, highlighted by visuals on a giant screen behind him on the Ryman stage. The images continued throughout the night, sometimes focusing on photos of Gary, sometimes images from his videos and at other times a montage of photographs that accented the music. The show was definitely on the rock side of country, yet Gary's passion for his music and his love for lyrics that tell a story keep him a much needed part of the country scene.

The show lasted some two-and-a-half hours, with the entertainer playing hit after hit, including 'She's So California,' 'Right Where I Need to Be' and 'Songs About Rain,' as well as his new single, 'Today.'

"It's a big night for me here at the Ryman," Gary told the sold-out crowd before launching into 'Nothing on But the Radio.' "I have a lot of friends and family here."

And it seems one of those family members is following in Gary's footsteps. "The other day I went in the house and I heard my daughter Dallas playing The Band's 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,'" Gary told the crowd. "No how cool would it be if the first time you got to play live was with your dad at the Ryman Auditorium? Dallas, come on out here."

Dallas did her dad proud as she accompanied him on keyboard while he sang from a lyric sheet, explaining that he had never done the tune before. When the song ended, he called her to the front of the stage for a huge hug, all the while smiling proudly for his daughter at the reception the crowd was giving her.

The show was high energy all the way, with Gary's band helping him keep the momentum going throughout the night. At one point he left the stage to give them the spotlight, returning to perform 'As Long as You're Looking Back,' 'Alright Guy' and 'Watching Airplanes.'

The singer had barely left the stage before the crowd was chanting "Gary, Gary, Gary." A few minutes later, he came back for an encore of 'Like It's A Bad Thing' and "Drinkin' Dark Whiskey (Tellin' White Lies).' At one point, his black and white labradoodle joined the band onstage, running from one band member to another while they finished their final song. Gary signed posters, shook hands and greeted fans before exiting the stage for the final time.

Jack Ingram proved a crowd-pleasing opening act for Gary. He and his band worked through familiar songs like 'Measure of a Man,' 'Keep On Keepin' On' and 'Love You.' He surprised the crowd by bringing out singer Patty Griffin to join him to sing his new single, 'Seeing Stars.'

The singer dedicated 'That's a Man' to the men and women at Ft. Hood and to "anyone who is in the military or knows someone who is." Jack also relayed his musical journey and how thrilled he was to hear his first No. 1 on 'Bob Kingley's Country Countdown' before performing 'Wherever You Are.'

One of Jack's wilder moments came when he pulled off his boots to perform 'Barefoot and Crazy,' inviting the audience to join him. When no one accepted his challenge, he said, "Oh well, it is cold here." After performing his final song, Jack left the stage with the exclamation, "Nashville, we just played the Ryman Auditorium!"

The Eli Young Band got the crowd going with their own Texas style of rockin' country. They gave a good sampling of their music, including their recent hits 'When It Rains' and 'This Is Your Love.'