The finale to another epic year of Luke Bryan headlining his own tour…as told by a Canadian country music fan.
After arriving at Ford Field an hour before doors were set to open, I took in the very festive atmosphere that surrounded the downtown Detroit mega-venue. The local radio stations had booths set up and were also broadcasting from nearby establishments who, no doubt, appreciated the increase in traffic to their businesses. Normally I am one of those, “need to be front row because I have a pit ticket” type fans but not on this day. I had an actual seat about 35 rows back from the center of the main catwalk and it was worth it to be relaxed and find dinner with a few friends before the show started.
Now I know Luke Bryan is a superstar and Little Big Town are 100 percent a class act, but I was really not looking forward to being in a major league football stadium because that huge crowd makes me anxious. Thanks for making the trip worth it for me Dustin Lynch.
As the opening act, Dustin Lynch had a limited amount of time to get the capacity crowd fired up. Playing well-known hits from his debut album such as “Name On It” got the crowd on their feet while the romantic classic “Cowboys and Angels” had everybody singing along. Mixed with more recent hits, “Hell Of A Night” and hot new single “Seein’ Red,” it was the perfect combination to prove Dustin Lynch can give people their money’s worth for arriving to the show early.
I’ve seen Little Big Town before and the truth is they don’t need all the flashy gimmicks that a lot of concerts have because their voices and stage presence are enough to captivate, whether it’s a small venue or a stadium like Ford Field. Sadly, I missed their performance, but it was worth it on this night as I had a VIP experience/meet and greet with Dustin Lynch, in which I got another autograph and photo for my collection, and was part of a short interactive acoustic set where he let the 100 or so fans in attendance choose every song he played. His new music is going to be fantastic folks. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another whole year for it to be ready!
Despite my original reasoning for attending this show, I won’t deny that Luke Bryan knows how to put on a solid show. After seeing him for the first time a few years ago, every aspect of his show has greatly improved. I have no doubt every fan at Ford Field left with a smile on their face.
Luke Bryan’s set began with a fantastic lights display that lasted a solid minute before the entire stadium went black for moment and then was blasted with white light as he emerged on a set of stairs leading down to the main stage. Entertaining a crowd of over 60,000 is no small feat so that means there’s no small stage either. Not only was there a main stage where his band was stationed for most of the night, there was a center catwalk that went rows out into the audience with additional catwalks extending to the left and right sides of the floor seats so even those up in the lower and upper bowls could get a closer look.
It’s fair at this point to say that Luke Bryan has so many hit songs from every album (and they were all represented) that it didn’t matter whether it was a rocking party song like “Move” or the heartfelt “Drink A Beer,” fans knew every word and not only sang along, but made sure they were heard. Karen Fairchild joined Luke Bryan for “Home Alone Tonight” and it was spectacular. He also brought the rest of Little Big Town out for a medley of songs, and while it was fun and silly it felt like a natural part of the show. Luke Bryan also brought Dustin Lynch back out to cover the Brooks & Dunn classic “Play Something Country” where many fans were treated to cold cans of beer tossed to them from the stage.
Of course, with this being the last stop on the tour, the opening acts had to pull a prank during one of Luke Bryan’s songs. While standing at his microphone and playing guitar, out came Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch all riding kid bikes while dressed up in slings and pretend casts. I guess Luke Bryan hasn’t lived down his recently broken collar bone yet.
After a solid two-hour performance including an encore, the night was finally over and I took an extra few minutes just to sit down and look around at what had happened that night…and to also let some of the crowd disperse before I attempted to find an exit. After finding the tunnel bus (a wonderful way to cross the border and attend events like this without the worry of getting behind the wheel after drinking) to take me back home to Canada, I was extremely exhausted, but completely satisfied with my Ford Field experience. Will I go there for another show in the future? I suppose that depends on the artists and how badly I want to see them. One thing is for certain though, country music is alive and well in the Motor City and I’m so glad I got to witness one of my favorite artists in that environment.