Review: Lady Antebellum Wow the Crowd at Nashville Wheels Up 2015 Tour Stop
A sold-out crowd at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Friday (Sept. 11) could only mean one thing: Lady Antebellum were returning home, and there were plenty of fans eager to see the trio before their Wheels Up 2015 Tour wrapped up. The night was especially weighty given Lady A's upcoming self-imposed break from the limelight, and as the lights dimmed, the entire arena seemed to hold its breath in anticipation before Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood appeared in the spotlight.
From their very first single to their most recent hit, Lady Antebellum covered a lot of ground during their set, flying through songs like a 747 on a mission: to entertain and wow the assembled crowd. And they did just that, with no turbulence whatsoever.
Openers Sam Hunt and Hunter Hayes were the perfect choice for guests on Lady A's tour: Each artist has his own appeal, style and talent, and they both amped up the crowd's energy, providing the perfect segue into their tour bosses' first song. "Long Stretch of Love" kicked things off in a tight, energetic explosion, and, to switch things up, Lady Antebellum finished it off a cappella.
After playing together for nine years, Lady A's harmonies are tighter than Haywood's pants (and, trust us, they were pretty form fitting). The trio offers up some of the best harmonies in country music, and their show in Nashville proved that their singing is invincible. Alone, with a full band and even with each individual located in different areas of the stage, they never missed a beat.
Scott's sparkly silver microphone and mic stand dazzled almost as much as her vocals, and she looked especially gorgeous in an all-black ensemble, her brilliant smile showing the fans just how excited she was to be on that stage. She and Kelley did most of the talking and singing, but Haywood impressed with his versatile musicality on several different instruments.
"Hey Bartender," "American Honey" and "Freestyle" kept the audience's attention, and each song was a light show in and of itself: Laser-like beams of colors spewed across the arena during "Bartender," and it was clear that much thought and talent was put into every intricate details.
During the beginning songs, Kelley made sure to mention how honored Lady A were to be playing in front of all of the people who had a part in the success of the band, from Nashville-based songwriters to engineers, families and friends.
"As you sing," he told fans, "you're not just singing to us, but to everyone [in our success]."
"Just a Kiss" had Haywood -- who demonstrated his guitar prowess throughout the show -- on keys, and Scott admitted, "I don't think we could have dreamed nine years ago that we would do this."
Lady Antebellum's set also featured several appearances by Hayes and Hunt. On "Compass," for example, Hayes and Nathan Chapman (the producer of the song) played along, Hayes on mandolin and Chapman on guitar.
The star trio made their way through the packed crowd onto a B stage at one point in their set, giving even those furthest from the stage an enviable view.
"We wanted to give our band a little break and do a few songs acoustic -- a little up close and personal," they said.
One of the highlights was a cover of Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud," which Kelley described as "one of the best songs that's come out on pop radio for a long time."
Since Lady A's concert was on 9/11, it was only appropriate that they speak of the memorable events that marked our great nation.
"We just want to say thank you to every single person in uniform who fought that day, who lost their lives that day, who fight and protect us on a daily basis," said Scott. She also mentioned that they had met a wounded warrior who was in the crowd, and then they launched into a touching rendition of "Hello World."
Scott showed plenty of sass throughout the evening -- after all, singing into a glittery mic can make any woman feel a little feisty. She inspired the females in the crowd to dance like no one was watching, raising their fists as she sang "Downtown," and then -- much to everyone's delight -- launched into Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine."
Hunt and Hayes (who was sporting a Nashville Predators jersey) joined Lady Antebellum to play a cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way," with Hayes leading a walk down the catwalk -- and it was one of the best moments of the night because every single musician let their hair down, jumping, dancing and pumping up the adrenaline to 150 percent.
Lady A's encore began with "747," the stage swathed in a moody blue ambiance as the lights dropped lower.
"Will you sing this with us tonight Nashville?" asked Scott as they dove into their huge hit "Need You Now" and an especially memorable rendition of Stevie Nicks' "Landslide," which they performed with the rocker on CMT Crossroads back in 2013. It was especially touching because the song was a request from Kelley's mom.
At the end of "Landslide," Kelley removed his earbuds to hear the audience singing along, put his arms around his bandmates and kissed them both on their heads. It was a night that fans won't forget -- and, most likely, one that Lady A will carry in their hearts when they're back home, in their own beds and out of the spotlight.
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