CMA Fest 2014 Night 4: Brad Paisley, Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum and Others
After a soggy Night 3 of the 2014 CMA Music Festival in Nashville, the final night’s weather could not have been more perfect. Rain, humidity and cold, gusty winds stayed far away from LP Field, but the high-octane performances were definitely present.
After The Oak Ridge Boys got things started with the national anthem, the Charlie Daniels Band took to the stage for a three-song set that included “Southern Boy,” “Tangled Up in Blue” and of course “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” to get the party started. One lucky fan standing at the front of the stage got a keepsake of a lifetime when Charlie busted the strings on his fiddle bow and tossed it into the sea of fans piled up against the stage.
Next in line was Thomas Rhett, who showed country music fans just how far you can come in a year’s time. He took the stage of LP Field for his Nightly Concert debut at CMA Music Fest like a seasoned pro, working the crowd like he’s been playing to that kind of capacity for decades. He opened his set with the hip-hop-infused “All-American Middle Class White Boy,” which can be found on his debut album, It Goes Like This. “If you feel like singing, it goes a little something like this, y’all,” Thomas said as he slipped off his guitar to sing his first No. 1 hit, “It Goes Like This.” He treated those in attendance to other hits from his career, including “Beer With Jesus,” “Get Me Some of That,” “Something to Do With My Hands” and his brand-new single, “Make Me Wanna,” but not before snapping one quick selfie with a crowd of fans with their arms held high screaming in the distance behind him. “Thank you so much, Nashville,” he exclaimed as he exited the stage. “This was a dream come true!”
Lady Antebellum owned the stage and owned the night with their performance, as they took fans through a solid selection of hit after hit from their record-breaking career. They kicked things off with “Compass,” followed by “American Honey” and “Bartender.” They got everyone on their feet with their next number, mega-smash “Need You Now,” for which they received plenty of help on singing duties, which moved the trio’s Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood. Their performance was a reminder of why they are one of country music’s most loved and talented groups. They continued on with “Downtown” and “We Owned the Night,” which they certainly did.
Hunter Hayes did a great job at keeping the energy high when he bounded onto the stage with hits like “I Want Crazy,” “Tattoo,” “Invisible” and “Wanted.” For Hunter, this marked his third CMA Music Fest, but he was still as humbled by the moment. “I am deeply and sincerely honored to be here for a third year in a row. Wow!” said a gracious Hunter. “This is a massive dream come true.”
Even though it was getting later into the night, fans were not the least bit tired by the time the Zac Brown Band took to the stage. The band dived headfirst into their catalog of hits, opening with “The Wind.” They took everyone back a few years for their own rendition of David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Call Me by My Name,” before continuing on with their own tunes “Sweet Annie,” “Colder Weather” and their latest single, “All Alright.” To give everyone an added CMA Fest perk, the band called to the stage Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora for a special performance of “Wanted Dead or Alive.” As the 30-minute mark of their set neared, fans knew what was coming. “Oh, we’re gonna raise the roof up in here now,” Zac said as the band began playing the familiar opening notes of “Chicken Fried.” The song continued on well after the lyrics had come to an end, as the band wowed the crowd with their incredible musicianship.
While the rain managed to stay far away from LP Field, Brad Paisley decided to spread a little H2O around with his opening song, “Water.” He decided to get up close with those who waited around for the night’s final performance as he hopped off the stage to take the show them exactly who and what this week is all about: the fans. His set included numerous favorites from over the years, including “Old Alabama,” “Ticks,” “Beat This Summer,” “River Bank” and “Mud on the Tires.”
“We have the best night of the week to play and the best fans to play for,” Brad said between songs. Fans in the front had their cellphones held high to capture any shot they could of the star. To continue to give back, Brad began to snag their phones, saying he was going to proceed to take “as many selfies as I can,” giving those lucky ones a memory they will never forget. Brad brought the night to an end with a performance of “Alcohol,” but not before making sure each and every fan walked away knowing their importance to him and every other act who took the stage throughout the week. “You are the greatest fans in the entire world!” he said.
Stay tuned for the July 7 issue of Country Weekly, hitting stands June 30, for our complete recap of the 2014 CMA Music Festival.