Chris Lane’s headlining show at Topgolf in Nashville was a noteworthy example of the diversity modern country artists bring to live shows. Newcomers expecting to see a typical country show were treated to something far more dynamic, as Lane delivered a fiery set filled with wide ranging covers, his personal favorite songs and fan favorites from his own catalogue that invited the crowd to sing along to every word.
Though Lane broke onto the country scene by capturing fans’ attention with his No. 1 hit “Fix” and Top 10 single “For Her,” he’s still working his way to becoming a steadfast mainstream artist. And based on the sold out crowd he entertained at his first headlining show in Nashville, he’s steadily making his way up that mainstream ladder. With sweet ballads like “For Her’ and “All About You” appearing in the same set as a powerhouse number like “Don’t Stop Believin’”and Usher’s “DJ’s Got Us Fallin’ in Love,” Lane proves he has the capacity to seamlessly transition from one genre to another, enticing the audience to come along with him down these bold paths.
It wasn’t hard to notice the die-hard fans lined along the front of the stage, singing every word of deep cuts like “Old Flame,” “Her Own Kind of Beautiful” and “One Girl” right back to him, their energy permeating through the rest of the room. But it was his cover of Mario’s 2004 hit “Let Me Love You,” that was a standout of the night, which has become one of the most anticipated moments in Lane’s live show. Fans shouted every lyric as he soulfully crooned the track, managing to turn the R&B soul into a smooth country song. It generated one of the most passionate reactions of the night, as cell phone lights lit up the dark theatre with fans determined to capture the moment.
What makes modern country shows so intriguing is the blend of pop and R&B into the country genre, with Lane’s audience reveling in both worlds as they were just as immersed in his cover of Tim McGraw’s classic “I Like it, I Love It” as they were when his drummer delivered a spot-on cover of T-Pain’s “Buy You a Drank.”
It’s this factor that makes Lane an interesting performer, harboring the ability to cleverly move from a sentimental moment serenading a fan on stage, who had tears in her eyes for the entirety of the performance, before simultaneously turning the venue into a nightclub and rock concert with an encore medley that leapt from “Livin’ on a Prayer” to “24K Magic,” mixed in with a rock-leaning cover of NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” and a welcomed 90s throwback with “All the Small Things,” all of which fully delighted the crowd of mostly 20 and 30-year-olds.
A night filled with twists and turns as Lane took fans down several diverging musical alleys, it seems that diversity and unpredictability is where he’s most in his element. Though he could use some momentum when it comes to stage presence, Lane’s ability to make songs from other genres his own while still rousing fans with his original material not only reflects his understanding of the modern country world, but proves if he continues on this path, he could very well make his way into the genre’s elite.
Morgan Wallen and Adam Craig both proved themselves as promising up-and-comers as opening acts for the show. Wallen brought a taste of his East Tennessee roots to the stage with “Whiskey Glasses,” “I Could Use a Little Rain” and “The Way I Talk” before really getting the crowd pumped with his lively single, “Up Down.” Like Lane, he has a way of embracing other musical genres, incorporating a medley of his own favorite tunes that ranged from a Linkin Park cover to an Aerosmith classic, engaging the crowd with his own tracks just as much as the famous hits.