It was a true celebration of hits old and new when Blake Shelton took the stage in an intimate setting for Pandora’s “Sounds Like You: Country” concert at Oz Arts Nashville on Friday (Nov. 3). “Celebration” was a word used more than once by the country star, who was not only honoring the release of his new album Texoma Shore, but the fans who turned his many revered songs into hits – 24 in fact, a number that is sure to only rise.
Shelton made it clear that the special night was all about the fans, which Pandora had handpicked based on who they knew were listening to his music on the streaming platform, proving so by asking them to deliver their song requests to him on stage, with several fans enthusiastically obliging. Putting his numerous radio hits front and center, Shelton gave the crowd exactly what they wanted during his nearly two-hour set that consisted of fan favorites such as “Guy With a Girl,” “Came Here to Forget,” “Every Time I Hear That Song” and many more, while also shining a light on the potential new hits off his current project, elating fans with the sweet “I’ll Name the Dogs,” “At The House,” “Turnin’ Me On,” and “I Lived It,” the latter of which he describes as his favorite song off the album and one of the best he feels he’s ever recorded.
As much as they love his currents No. 1s, fans went especially crazy when he asked to perform songs from his early catalogue of hits that turned him into a superstar, not assuming that they’ve been following his career since the start. But based on their resounding enthusiasm when he kicked off “Some Beach,” it was evident that they certainly have been. A particularly special moment came when Shelton abided by multiple fans’ requests to sing “The Baby,” a deeply moving track off his 2003 album The Dreamer album that Shelton says has been long removed from his set list due to its somber nature. But the performance proved to be one of the night’s most moving numbers, with the country star’s voice shining on the emotional lyrics, serving as another example of how the show was a dedication to the fans who’ve supported him since his humble beginnings.
And as swiftly as he can strike an emotional chord, Shelton will pick the mood right back up again, prompting feverish engagement with upbeat favorites like “Neon Light,” “Boys ‘Round Here,” and “Honey Bee,” a song so beloved that even the bartender couldn’t help but show off her excitement along with the rest of the crowd. But of course it was “Austin” that was the most anticipated song of the evening, with fans letting their admiration be known by chanting the song’s title when Shelton asked for requests, and he certainly didn’t let them down when he wound down his set with his respected chart-topping first single.
Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Maggie Rose proved to be a true act of talent herself, demonstrating her powerful vocals and unique sound during her roughly 30 minute opening set that consisted of tracks like “Just Getting By,” “Goodbye Monday,” “Pull You Through” and her steamy new song “Body on Fire.” Rose could very well be one of the genre’s breakthrough acts, based on her commanding stage presence and undeniable voice, backed by a sound that blends country with soul.
But the fact that “Ol’ Red” received one of the best reactions of the night, with the predominantly younger crowd proudly waving their glow sticks in the air and singing every word back to the star on stage proves that no matter how famous Shelton gets, people will always love the country boy he is at heart.