As the entire world population has come to adapt to a new normal, Kane Brown and a few members of his country crew tapped in on the action with a special one-night only drive-in concert on Saturday evening (Sept. 26).
Encore Drive-In Nights presented the unique concert experience to fill the void of the lack of live music happening throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The company meshed the modern world with a touch of the past by streaming the set-up of a live show on the outdoor big screen.
Just like any other show, Granger Smith served as the opening act to get the crowd going on their tailgates and in their fold-out lawn chairs. Smith had his staging set up in an open field in Texas, with a sunset background reminiscent of the summer months. The country singer kept a low-key stage persona as he jammed out to his hits, like “Backroad Song” and “If The Boot Fits.” Despite the chill of the coastal California air, Smith had the audience warmed up for Brown’s headlining set.
Horns honked and headlights flickered as the countdown commenced for Brown’s portion of the show. The country star had fans “Lose It” as he came forth on the screen to perform the hit single as the first song on the setlist. Embracing the true live show look, Brown’s team had the staging and lighting up to par with that of arena concerts complete with animated graphics and the changing colors dependent on each song’s vibe.
Brown gave fans an exclusive listen to a never-been-released track entitled “Vodka Cranberry,” which felt like a nod to 80s synth pop as the lyrics recalled a flirty night out on the town.
Performing a couple deep cuts for his dedicated fan base, Brown broke out one of his more romantic tracks called “Better Place,” which just so happens to be one of his wife’s favorites. In honor of her love for the song and him, he dubbed in a tribute to her brown eyes in the smooth head-bobbing chorus.
Rather than just moving through the motions of a typical show, Brown dedicated a couple minutes to shine a light on some of the poignant topics the country is facing that he himself has experienced throughout his lifetime. The singer opened up about the abusive past he faced with his stepfather and the adversity he dealt with in his school years before singing about the growth he has experienced in what he called his most important song, “Learning.”
Brown continued on a similar note, carrying in his new perspective of becoming a father while singing “For My Daughter.” He dedicated it as an ode to his daughter, who was born in October 2019, and said he wants to be the best dad he can be for her.
Switching it up from just being a solo gig, Brown invited Jimmie Allen to take the place of John Legend for a duet they wrote together called “Last Time I Say Sorry.” Allen didn’t skip a beat when it came to subbing in for the R&B star as his voice was silky smooth layered over Brown’s harmonies. Allen stayed on stage to perform his hit, “Best Shot,” as Brown took in a quick break and let his friend have his time to shine.
Allen wasn’t the only country colleague Brown called up though, as moments later, Lauren Alaina took center stage while the two rocked out to “What Ifs.” Alaina’s vocals were untouchable as usual, making her short stage appearance a highlight of the night.
To keep things fresh, Brown ventured into his Top 40 collaboration by taking the lead on “Be Like That” before breaking down covers of some of his favorite songs, including “Follow Me” by Uncle Kracker, “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” by Soulja Boy Tell’em and “Hot Girl Bummer” by blackbear.
Fan favorites followed the pop side of the show, with Brown singing “Cool Again” and “Heaven” to a dancing crowd. Reemphasizing the importance of spreading love during the current climate, he preached to the audience in “Worldwide Beautiful” in hope of letting in the light yet again.
While the show technically finished with Brown getting down on his collaboration with Marshmello, “One Thing Right,” and “Good as You,” it really ended with fans being connected through something other than physical closeness. Noting throughout the show that theaters and drive-ins full of people from coast to coast were indulging in the treat that is a live show on the same night created an aura different than any other post-concert adrenaline rush. During a time when it seems people have been isolated from one another, Brown’s drive-in concert was an enlightening reminder that music brings us all together, even if just for a couple hours in the middle of a massive parking lot.