The first of four concerts at the LP Field in Nashville during the CMA Festival was a huge success. During the opening ceremony the troops were honored and so was Jim Ed Brown with a moment of silence. The Gatlin Brothers had the stately assignment of singing the National Anthem.
Superstar Alan Jackson was first in line to perform for the happy and cheerful crowd and he did not disappoint anybody who wanted to hear his biggest hits. He also teased the audience with his brand new single "You Never Know", which is going to be on his upcoming release on July 17. A short version of Jim Ed Brown's Pop-A-Top concluded and Jackson said "I'm gonna miss you buddy". Sam Hunt followed with his rapid verses and melodic choruses. Most people around me sang along passionately. Actually, the entire evening felt like one long sing-along song with acts like the before mentioned and Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean that all really know how to work a crowd and put on a show that leaves the stadium buzzing and have arms waving. Each act also took the opportunity to thank the fans in very sincere ways from the bottom of their hearts. They are playing for free, as all the artists at the fest, as an act of gratitude towards the fans and to pay it forward to the CMA Foundation which cause is to provide music education to enhance the academic lives of students. That - as you may say in an informal way - rocks.
Foot note: The LP Field concerts as well as performances on all 11 stages during the fest are filmed to be put together into the concert "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" hosted by the super group Little Big Town. It will be aired on the ABC Television Network on August 4.
Shelley Ridge for Country Music News International Magazine