Lady Antebellum performed an intimate concert at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Friday evening (Nov. 10) as part of the Hilton Honors’ Music Happens Here program. The series, which gives Hilton Honors members access to exclusive concerts, meet-and-greets, and one-on-one artist experiences, visited Nashville where the country trio played an engaging hour-long concert that included several of their chart-topping hits and some memorable covers.
One of their last scheduled performances of the year, Lady Antebellum were laidback and conversational with the crowd, often poking fun at each other and detailing how certain songs came to be. After performing their first No. 1 single, “I Run To You,” the group introduced the upbeat “Bartender,” but couldn’t quite remember which record it was featured on. Debating if it was on their fourth or fifth album, Dave Haywood admitted that he lost count while Hillary Scott said she had a great excuse for not remembering — pregnancy brain.
“I’m pregnant right now,” she told the crowd. “This is a song about something I can’t do right now, which is tip my bartender.”
Later, Scott shared the makings of their latest project, Heart Break, and explained that the band wanted to “pour our hearts and souls into new music” as it had been three years since they released an album together.
“Our latest single ‘Heart Break,’ this is the song that when we wrote it, we felt like we had a song to write the rest of the album around,” she explained. “It’s a female empowerment message which I think is pretty timely.”
Bandmate Charles Kelley then interjected. “There’s a lot of that on our record. That’s why we named our band Lady Antebellum,” he explained. “We are very secure guys. We love women very much.”
“And then they grew really big beards after,” Scott added with a laugh.
“This is not real,” Kelley confessed, stroking his beard. “Just For Men is covering up several grey hairs that are starting to peak through. You on Just For Men yet, Dave? Yours is lookin’ a lot darker than it did last week.”
Not one of many words, Haywood had the audience laughing at his response.
“This hair and this hair,” he said pointing to his beard and his chest, “has been here since I was 12. So, I’ve been a Just For Men since I was a boy.”
The trio continued their show with pristine harmonies on signature hits like the nostalgic “American Honey,” the funky “You Look Good” and the upbeat “Downtown.” Later, Kelley would break into Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” after the group discussed artists they shouldn’t cover because they could never do their songs justice.
Early on in their set, Scott promised a memorable show and Lady Antebellum did not disappoint. In between songs, Scott shared that she and Kelley got their start performing together in various karaoke bars in Nashville while Kelley remembered things a little differently.
“Hillary hit on me,” Kelley recalled. “Maybe I hit on her. That is her husband [on drums] so we gotta watch out. Maybe it was me. Anyway, we meet each other at this bar and the next thing we know we were like, ‘We should write some songs together.’ We went out one night and [said], ‘Let’s go to a karaoke bar and maybe some record label will be in there and hear us.’ Little did we know that doesn’t happen. That’s just in the movies. Apparently record executives don’t hang out in karaoke bars which is absurd.”
Scott then asked Kelley if he remembered what song they performed. As he recalled, they sang a few including “Baby Got Back” and the iconic “Islands In the Stream.” Without missing a beat, their band broke into the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton classic as the two singers traded verses while seated on stools at the edge of the stage.
While their humor charmed the small room of country fans throughout the evening, songs like the beautiful ballad “Just A Kiss” and massive crossover hit “Need You Now” exemplified why Lady Antebellum have been a mainstay in the country scene over the past decade. As they closed the night with a stripped down version of “Need You Now,” Scott said they wanted to perform the song that changed their lives the way they wrote it. Accompanied by light piano and acoustic guitar, Lady Antebellum’s voices struck a chord and showcased exactly why they remain one of the genre’s most beloved groups.