Despite having to cancel the first date of Farm Tour in South Carolina due to hurricane weather threats, that did not stop Luke Bryan and the crew from firing off the fall tour with great excitement during their show in Greenback, Tennessee on Thursday night (10/7).
Farm Tour was originally supposed to kick off in Gaston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night, but Hurricane Matthew caused the production to halt all activities and move the starting date of the tour to Maple Lane Farms in Tennessee. Although the hindrance could have made Bryan and his team lose steam for the rest of their time on the road, it only amped them up more to make each show, especially the opening one, greater than fans could have ever imagined.
Starting off the night right was Jon Langston with his rock-country vibes. After thousands of fans flooded into the open-field farm venue at Maple Lane, they all squeezed their way to the closest sections of the stage and catwalk to get the best glimpse of all the action happening on stage. There were flannels as far as the eye could see as Langston busted out some of his best-known tunes including “Forever Girl,” and his latest single, “All Eyes on Us.” Attendees clapped along to the drum-heavy beats of each song in Langston’s setlist and fans howled along with the country singer as he covered the classic Tim McGraw catalogue staple, “Something Like That.”
After Langston exited stage right, more and more fans piled into the pit to get closer to the hubbub. Ready to sway along to the sounds of Granger Smith, he took his set on stage to the next level of fan interaction as Smith slapped hands of people in the audience as he graced back and forth on the catwalk. Even pulling a couple lucky fans up on stage to enjoy the rest of the set from an on-stage camo tent, Smith really emphasized his connection to his supporters throughout each song by reaching out them and politely waving between lyrics.
The crowd turned into an everlasting sea of boots in the air when Smith brought out his smash hit, “If the Boot Fits,” a modern country version of the story of Cinderella looking for his country prince. Not only were their cowboy boots raised high to the sky, but some fans began to find their perfect viewpoint for Smith’s set atop their partners’ shoulders to creative the ultimate festival atmosphere.
From taking selfies with fans during “Do It in a Field,” to doing a rowdy rendition of “Ain’t Going Down ‘til the Sun Comes Up” as the sun tucked behind the Rocky Mountain landscape in the distance, Smith set the crazy tone for the evening with his closing “routine.”
Smith disappeared from the stage after his cover collaboration of “Free Fallin’” and “Backroad Song” to bring a surprise guest by the name of Earl Dibbles Jr. to the stage. Clad in overalls, a wife beater and his signature “Yee Yee” flag waving high, he finished out the set as any redneck would by crushing two silver bullets in two seconds and stuffing his mouth full of the freshest dip he could find. If that ain’t a backwoods exit, who knows what is?
While The Peach Pickers didn’t mirror the same Hicksville attitude as that of Dibbles, they still stunned the crowd with their renditions of a selection of the hottest songs in their writing repertoire. Filling in for Dallas Davidson alongside friends Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip was successful songwriter Ashley Gorley, who’s written numerous No. 1s for country radio. Busting out some of their biggest hits from Jake Owen’s “American Country Love Song,” to Thomas Rhett’s “Get Me Some of That,” to Dustin Lynch’s “Mind Reader,” fans screamed along to all the lyrics they know and love from the iconic songwriting trio.
Forgetting some of the words to their hits like Lee Brice’s “Parking Lot Party,” Akins, Gorley and Hayslip joked throughout their entire set as they soaked in the moments of thousands of fans in the audience singing the words they wrote not too long ago. Sending the crowd off with a massive country tune by the name of “Boys ‘Round Here,” by Blake Shelton, they got the audience ready to dance and yell for Bryan himself.
In coordination to the “Kill the Lights” theme of Bryan’s other tour, a blackout of the entire farm venue introduced Bryan to the crowd…and his big health news. Keeping it under the obvious radar, Bryan disguised his recently broken clavicle by tucking his right hand strategically in his pocket as he rocked out to his hit, “Rain is a Good Thing.” No sling in sight, Bryan swung his hips during the farm-appropriate hit to “get a little frisky” for the excited crowd.
Not suspecting a thing, Bryan rolled into “Kick the Dust Up” as fans did what the song sings by dancing around with cold ones in their hands and jamming along to the downhome track. Following the wild songs with a toned-down “I See You” and “Drunk on You,” fans got into the moment as they yelled along with the country star’s smooth vocals. It was then that Bryan felt comfortable enough to share why he kept his awkward pocket positioning throughout his first few songs of the night.
“So I had a little mishap today, Tennessee. Yep, I was riding a bike and I broke my damn collarbone. Not good. Oh, I got me a souvenir Blount Memorial Hospital bracelet! Can we zoom in on that? There it is…there it is. Oh, there’s my skinned-up hand. Thomas Luther Bryan, there it is. I got my elbow, too. I just realized I skinned my elbow. Yeah, he’s lookin’ good. But thank you guys so much for being here! We’re gonna have a great time. You know what? When you break a bone, you know the best thing for a broken bone is whiskey, ain’t that right? Or some East Tennessee moonshine. I might have to find me some of that tonight,” Bryan hilariously joked.
Taking another moment to salute all of the farmers that make things like Farm Tour and our food on the table happen, Bryan moved right into a track off his new Farm Tour EP, “Here’s to the Farmer.” Keeping with the agricultural theme for the night, he honored Farmer Bob Schmidt, the owner of Maple Lane Farms, who passed away in spring this year. Bryan asked the crowd for a brief moment of silence before continuing into another new one off his latest project, “Southern Gentleman.”
Throughout the rest of the night, Bryan rolled through some of his biggest hits as the audience got down and dirty in the middle of the farm field. While he may have been physically injured, he was not down for the count throughout his entire energetic set.
If anyone is on the fence about attending Farm Tour this year, it’s definitely a concert for the books. Bryan’s dedication to his fans and to the show despite his slight mishap only proves further why he deserves the title of CMA Entertainer of the Year and as one of the greatest guys in the country music business at the moment.