Country, Christian and rock music’s brightest stars donated their time and talent to help raise funds for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee during the Nashville Rising concert held June 22 at the Bridgestone Arena. All proceeds from ticket sales went to help victims of the May floods in Nashville.
The concert was stellar from start to finish, with co-host Tim McGraw’s band backing the performers. Carrie Underwood soared through her set, ending with an exquisite version of the hymn "How Great Thou Art." LeAnn Rimes, swathed in a slinky pink number and towering heels, belted out a cover of John Anderson’s "Swingin’" before giving an emotional rendition of "What I Cannot Change." Miranda Lambert was quick to thank the crowd for helping her chart her first two No. 1 songs, "White Liar" and "The House That Built Me." Taylor Swift (and her ever-present sparkly dress) was on hand to glitz the audience with "Love Story" and "You Belong With Me."
Other highlights from the four hour show included Martina McBride’s commanding performance of "Anyway," which garnered her a standing ovation, and Miranda’s passionate yet subdued "House That Built Me," which managed to all but silence the rowdy crowd.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famers ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd got the crowd on its collective feet: ZZ Top performed "Sharp Dressed Man" and Lynyrd Skynyrd obliged the crowd’s shouts for "Sweet Home Alabama" and "What’s Your Name."
Christian artist Michael W. Smith took the stage with a lone keyboard for renditions of his classic "Place in This World" and a first-time live performance of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Commenting on Nashville’s volunteer spirit, he said, "I hate to say it, but government, we don’t need you. We can take care of our own." The crowd responded with huge applause. Christian music icon Amy Grant took the stage to perform her latest hit, "Better Than a Hallelujah," as well as "Helping Hand."
One of the most talked about moments of the evening was an unexpected appearance by actress Sandra Bullock, who attempted to pluck out Deep Purple’s "Smoke on the Water" in the spirit of musicianship before introducing the "disgustingly beautiful" and "extraordinary" Faith Hill.
One of country music’s most polished performers, co-host Faith was in top vocal shape as she commanded the stage with "Stronger" and "Piece of My Heart." Husband Tim closed out the show with "Southern Voice" and "Live Like You Were Dying."
The event was a success, both musically and financially. The event, which is expected to have raised over $2 million, benefited from sizable donations from BMI, Sharpie, Krupa-Forbes, ACM’s Lifting Lives, Jackson Financial and the Nashville Predators. The show is not expected to be televised.