This past Saturday, Kane Brown lit up New York City with the second-leg of his ‘Blessed & Free Tour’ with a sold-out show at the legendary Madison Square Garden venue.
The show started when the rising trio Restless Road took the stage and effortlessly set the tone for an arena full of “good vibes.” The crowd was immediately drawn to their harmonies and companionship as their performances were compelling. Their vocal powers shined the most during the slower and mid-tempo moments that took place in their performances of “Took One Look At Her Momma” and “Take Me Home.” They kept the feel-good energy in the room with their country mashup of Josh Turner’s “Your Man,” Jason Aldean’s “Big Green Tractor,” Toby Keith’s “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” and George Strait’s “Check Yes Or No.” Despite being new in the country music scene, Restless Road owned not only the stage but the audience.
The trio was named as part of The Nash News’ Emerging Country Artists, Class of 2022, and will be embarking on their own headlining tour in a few months.
Next up to the stage was the second opening act, Chase Rice. Rice kicked off his set with “American Nights,” a song from his most recent album titled The Album Part 1. The highlight of his set was when he introduced himself as the writer of one of the most popular country songs in the last decade, “Cruise.” Rice sang a stripped-down, acoustic version of the song as the crowd swayed and sang along. He continued to carry the momentum in the room into an unreleased song titled “Key West And Colorado.” He noted that the unreleased track was helping define the sound of his next record, which he teased as the most personal music he’s ever written. In one of his interludes, he habitually thanked country radio for his success but went on to flatter the New York crowd with his statement “New York needs a f*cking country radio station.” His timely statement comes three months after the city lost its only country radio station. He said goodbye to the crowd with his most recent #1 single “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” and exited the stage, lifting his beer bottle with a “cheers.”
Brown made a shocking entrance as he dropped down from the ceiling in a New York sleeveless jersey. Immediately, Brown seemed like a seasoned professional, owning his craft as a non-traditional country artist and playing off the energy from the crowd. The stage setup was modern, engaging, and perfectly tailored to each song; a karaoke-style video played in the back of his 90’s-country-inspired jam “Short Skirt Weather,” a montage of his family played during his performance of “For My Daughter,” and the same neon sign from the cover-art of “One Mississippi” dropped down during the performance of his current single. The most surprising part of the show was when Brown shared intimate details of his life and childhood through stories and how that influenced his music with songwriting in tracks like “Learning” and “For My Daughter.” Brown’s vulnerability beamed through the entire arena, creating an atmosphere that was blissful. His show was a true reminder of the power of live music and harmonious gatherings.
After a short acoustic set, Brown returned to the stage with his full band to end the night with enthusiasm and gratitude for his fans. He highlighted some of his musical influences growing up during a genre-bending mash-up of George Jones and Blake Shelton’s “Ol Red,” Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls,” Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” Soulja Boy’s “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” and blackbear’s “hot girl bummer.” Halfway during his mashup, Brown invited a seven-year-old fan holding a sign stating to be his #1 fan, to come up on stage and learn the iconic “Soulja Boy” dance. The crowd encouraged both of them as they had the cutest dance party; it was unlike any experience I’ve ever had at a country concert.
Brown invited Chase Rice and Restless Road back on the stage to sing his recent hit “Famous Friends” and sang his most popular hits to end the night off.
Be sure to catch the ‘Blessed & Free Tour’ if it comes to a city near you; you won’t be disappointed.
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