Into each life a little rain must fall, but on the final day of CMA Fest, it wasn’t a little rain, it was a storm. In fact, locals experienced power outages throughout the day. However, by the time the shows at Nissan Stadium were ready to start, only a few rogue clouds and an occasional streak of lightning remained and while the concerts were delayed, it was only by a very slight amount of time.
Of course, the moths that invaded Nissan Stadium on the second night of CMA Music Festival apparently set up camp and decided they may as well stay for the whole weekend of fun, completely unfazed by the rain.
And the enthusiasm of the stars that performed on the final night was not dampened at all. Country music icon, Ray Stevens, kicked off the night with his performance of the national anthem before Opry legend Ricky Skaggs laid out a spread of country and bluegrass so tasty, fans were licking their lips. Playings songs like “Country Boy” and “Highway 40 Blues, the silver-haired guitar picker joked, “Here’s some old school country for you. I hope you can stand it.”
Brett Eldredge, looking handsome in black jeans and tee, white jean jacket, brought contemporary music back to the stage with a set that was half romance with “I Wanna Be That Song,” and “The Long Way” and half face-melting fun with tunes like “Drunk On Your Love.”
Cole Swindell had actually headlined the Cracker Barrel Country Roads Stage at Ascend Amphitheater on Saturday, but that didn’t stop him from popping in to dazzle fans with a quick performance of his hot new single, “Break Up In the End.”
Thomas Rhett also surprised concertgoers that night in an unscheduled appearance. Songs like “T-Shirt,” “Die a Happy Man,” “Crash and Burn,” and “Marry Me” had the crowd singing back to the country star as loud as they could, nearly drowning him out, and those final night folks feeling pretty grateful they had stayed until the bitter end.
It was one heckuva week for Dierks Bentley whose new album, “The Mountain,” has just been released. After performing all week long, including on the June 6 CMT Music Video Awards, he took the big stage to sing his newest number No. 1 single, “Woman, Amen,” from “The Mountain.” It wasn’t a huge surprise that Brothers Osborne showed up to sing “Burning Man” with their pal, but the fans reacted with screeches of delight and applause. It was a surprise, though, when Dwight Yoakam joined the country star on stage for a cover of “Fast As You.” It wasn’t all new in Dierks’ set, though. He also brought in fan favorites like “Somewhere On a Beach” and “I Hold On,” and he even hit a podium in the middle of the stadium to chug a beer with one lucky fan.
The surprises weren’t over, though. Although the bill stated it was pop music charmer, Bebe Rexha’s set, it was more about collaborations with Florida Georgia Line, who joined the rhinestone adorned cutie for their nearly smash, “Meant to Be.” They also invited their Backstreet Boys pals to the stage for a duet, as well as country’s Morgan Wallen for a fresh rendition of their tune, “Up Down.”
Of course, it takes one of the biggest stars in country music to close out the night and to close out a week of fun, music, and meet-and-greets. And while everyone was surely exhausted by the time Luke Bryan hit the stage, they weren’t going to let him know it. On their feet for most of his set, country fans danced, hopped, clapped and screamed as he peeled off hit-after-hit, blowing past his six-song limit. However, after spotting Randy Travis in the audience, Luke abandon his own music for a brief tribute to the icon that included Randy’s hits “On the Other Hand” and “Diggin’ Up Bones.”
Despite the heat, humidity, storms, moths, and crowds, A mostly exuberant and slightly spent CMA Music Festival crowd closed the book on another great event.