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Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Jake Owen, The Band Perry, Gary Allan and Lee Greenwood took Nashville’s LP Field by storm—before the actual storm hit—for the final night of 2013 CMA Fest.
The evening’s performances actually got underway by making Americans proud to be American with Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan performing the national anthem. And Lee Greenwood continued the patriotic theme with a high-energy set that culiminated in a crowd-pleasing performance of “God Bless the USA.” that brought fans to their feet. And just in case Americans weren’t proud enough, Kix Brooks made a special appearance to help present homes to two military families courtesy of Operation Finally Home.
The night was already electric with storms looming on the horizon, but Gary Allan managed to crank up the voltage performing hit after hit, including (ironically) “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain).” As the stadium continued to fill with country music fans, Gary closed his set with his newest single, “Pieces,” from his album Set You Free, before strolling off the stage with his signature charming swagger.
GAC correspondent Storme Warren was the evening’s host, and in addition to introducing the evening’s performances, he was also responsible for sharing an evacuation plan with the show’s attendees should dangerous weather hit.
Brad Paisley cranked things up a couple more watts with an enthusiastic set that included a guest appearance from country legend Charlie Daniels on “Karate.” But it was an interactive portion of his show that really drew the crowd in. Brad, a self-admitted tech geek, has a new app that fans could immediately download allowing them to become part of the show through their cellphones. The app synchs up their smart phones’ “flashlight” to turn off and on and flash in time with Brad’s own light show and music. The effect, which was utilized during his performance of “Beat This Summer,” created a fun and magical moment for fans both on the field and in the nosebleed seats.
Another bright point of the evening was the special appearance of Lennon and Maisy from the hit series Nashville. The two young ladies, neither of whom is yet old enough to drive, nearly silenced the capacity crowd with their acoustic performance of The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey,” before introducing The Band Perry.
If Kimberly Perry’s energy could have been harnessed, she could have likely blown the approaching weather into another county—or into another state! Feeding off of the energy of the crowd, she and brothers Neil and Reid unleashed a storm of their own in the form of back-to-back big thumping hits, “DONE.” and “Better Dig Two.” As lightning flickered behind the stage, The Band Perry was stopped short in order to provide time for Jake Owen and Carrie Underwood.
Leave it to Jake Owen to get up close and personal with his fans, hopping from the main stage to a lower platform to perform his current hit single, “Anywhere With You.” Sadly, that’s as far as he got. With the lightning growing closer and wind gusts threatening equipment, Storme returned to the stage to announce that artists’ sets were being cut even shorter, much to the chagrin of Jake Owen fans. And while fans lit up the social networks, including Twitter, to announce their disapproval of Jake’s shortened performance , he was quick to tweet his apologies and assure fans it wasn’t Carrie Underwood’s fault he stopped early .
After a small break, during which much of the audience departed, Carrie Underwood was allowed to take the stage for a shortened set that started with her new single, “See You Again,” before exploding into a raucous rendition of Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City.” Carrie was then joined by Brad Paisley for a performance of “Remind Me” that drowned out the wind gusts that were whipping around the stadium. She did manage to squeeze in a monster singalong of “Before He Cheats” before she was encouraged to end her set so that guests and celebrities alike could make it to safe shelter before the rain began to fall.
Despite the weather threat, CMA Music Fest closed this year’s festivities with one of the most high-energy shows and enthusiastic audiences of the week.
Country Weekly would like to say thanks to all of our friends, both near and far, for attending this year’s festival and for following along on CountryWeekly.com, Facebook and Twitter.
We’ll see y’all next year!