Luke Bryan: Huntin, Fishin, and Lovin Every Day, a Country Boy’s Prayer
Luke Bryan: Huntin, Fishin, and Lovin Every Day, a Country Boy’s Prayer
This was the second time this month I was caught off guard. Before the show, we were greeted with the stereotypical guys on the megaphone who are supposed to be preaching the Word of God, criticizing the modern Church and its lowered standards, reminding people that they are going to go to hell because they are out “sucking down some brewskies and ogling girls in Daisy Dukes. Country music is the most phony and disingenuous form of music out there,” they said. “The solar eclipse is happening in a few days, and God is taking out his big, black sharpie and is going to draw a line all the way across America,” they droned through a loudspeaker.
OK, you lost me on that one brother. One young man actually tried to have a rational conversation with one of them, and he just just screamed over top of him and mocked him. These “preachers” are indicative of everything else happening in this country. Can we no longer speak to one another without insulting each other and intolerance? I had no idea how wicked of an event I was attending (enter: sarcasm). What’s next, will people start trying to block free speech in this country and be violent towards others who simply disagree? That could never happen here (enter: more sarcasm). I came to see some good music and hang out with people who wanted to see music as well and that is what I did.
Kicking off the night is Luke Bryan’s former keyboardist, Craig Campbell. Craig was the only guy who brought out a cowboy hat.
Clad in a big black hat, white t-shirt and tight jeans, Craig shared some songs with us, “Outskirts of Heaven” and “Out of My Head” painted us a picture of dirt roads, fishing, old zebco reels, romance, green grass, not being able to forget past loves, lessons from grandpa, and the good Lord.
To give some contrasts to Campbell’s country look, his band looked like they could have been a metal band.
I don’t know how many country artists come out of Illinois, but Brett Eldredge is one who made his way to Nashville and is bringing the midwest country style to us. Tall, good looks, perfect hair and a powerful voice; that should give you a recipe for success.
“Lose My Mind,” “Drunk on Your Love,” “Something I’m Good At,” “Don’t Ya,” and my two favs of his “Mean To Me” and “Beat of the Music” bring a common theme that I see: women and love! I am going to imagine Brett is living the dream at this point, making music, travelling, and on tour with one of the biggest names in country music.
If anyone deserves good things happening to them, it is Luke Bryan. Son of a farmer and growing up in a close family, Luke had dreams of moving to Nashville and becoming a star in the music business. Things don’t always progress exactly the way one expects that they will, and Luke put his music career on hold after a horrible tragedy struck his family; he lost his brother in a car accident. Feeling it wasn’t a good time to go to far away from home, Bryan went to college at Georgia Southern. Unique talent cannot be stopped by horrible setbacks though, and Luke ended up moving to Nashville in 2007, and the rest has been history. Unfortunately, becoming one of the top country music artists in the world, does not stop more tragedy from happening as Luke also lost his sister and brother in law. Seeing Luke perform, it is amazing that he has been able to take the hard times he has seen and turn it into one of the most positive shows on tour. Luke has taken tragedy and turned it something that those who are no longer here with us would be proud of.
Before the curtain drops, the screams begin from the pit all the way to the back of the lawn seats. The curtain comes down at freefall speed from the rafters. The Lights go up. The man with the signature backwards ball cap throws his arms up in the air from the top of the stage and his bigger than life smile lights up the entire venue. It is impossible to not give in and and get involved with Luke’ show. If you wanted to, he will not let you. Before I could blink an eye, he was down on the catwalk interacting with his fans. I was able to slide into the pit to photograph Luke for songs 2 and 3. It’s a challenge shooting his show as he is so up close and personal, and getting an angle to shoot is difficult. It was also difficult because I couldn’t concentrate as I was just really enjoying seeing everyone’s smiles as he got as close as he possible could to the crowd.
Luke has had so many hits at this point that he could fill an entire show with number one hits. His songwriting experience has translated into being able to write and work with other writers who know how to create memorable, catchy hooks that draw you in to sing along with him. All night long, the crowd was right there with him. “Roller Coaster,””Play it Again,” ”Crash My Party,” ”Drink a Beer,” ”Huntin, Fishin, and Lovin Every Day,” ”Drink a Beer,” ”Dirt Road Diaries,” ”Beer in the Headlights,” ”Out Like That,” and the song the preachers could only spell out, “Take Your Drunk A. S. S. Home.” They didn’t have a problem saying “cameltoe” and “buttcrack,” but “ass” somehow offended their morals, but I digress again. Luke knows what the fans come to a show to see. We, and I include myself in that, want to hear the songs that we love and listen to on the way to work or when we need to escape from the day to day challenges we have to deal with. Having such a hit laden catalog, Bryan gets it. He knows who he is and what got him there. I think some people forget this sometimes. I can’t imagine anyone left saying, “I wish Luke would have played my favorite song.”
The only time for me that the show slowed just a little was when Luke brought out Brett and Craig to sing a few songs together behind a piano. There seemed to be a slight issue with the production with either a song list or words to the songs they were going to perform. Luke was looking at his guys waiting for them to bring the sheets out and tape them to the piano. This was the only time I saw him not smile all night. They brought out one sheet and taped it to Luke’s left, and Luke eyed the guy and motioned with a head nod to put it on the other side. They eventually got it worked out and they laughed. One of the songs they played was “Sweet Caroline.” I know I will get hate mail for this, but if I never hear another version of “Sweet Caroline” played, I wouldn’t be disappointed. That may just be me. They did play a nice version of “Strip it Down” together and enjoyed a number of shots of tequila.
A couple of fun moments that I can’t say I haven’t seen anyone else do to this level was when they brought out a cooler with a big American Flag on the lid and started tossing Miller Light into the crowd. You better be paying attention, because you might end up seeing a can of beer smash into your forehead if you were distracted. Also, Luke grabbed people’s cell phones and took photos for them and did his best to take selfies of him and them from the stage. I saw some of the photos online where people posted them. I love when these guys do little things for the fans that make their days. It is also nice to see a guy who doesn’t take himself series. Goofy smiles and silly dancing. Luke just has a good time like only a country boy can and shares that with the fans.
I am noticing that bands aren’t staying backstage all night waiting for the crowd to encourage them to come out for their encore. Times are changing. Luke went off, came right back and closed out the show with “Country Girl (Shake it)” and “Paradise City.”
Full gallery of the night.
Catch this tour!