Florida Georgia Line Come Home With SiriusXM Show at the Ryman Auditorium
Florida Georgia Line were among friends during their first headlining show at the Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday night (May 29). One even ended up onstage!
The duo's private show for SiriusXM subscribers featured a setlist similar to what fans have come to expect from Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley. The hitmakers crammed about 20 songs into 75 minutes and leaned heavily on old hits and album cuts from their latest Can't Say I Ain't Country album. Fans celebrated the titletrack, performed live for the first time on this night. "Speed of Love" fit nicely between "Round Here" and "Smooth," two songs that came just before they transitioned to a slowdown that would eventually feature "Blessings."
During their 2018 tour FGL often saved "Cruise" for the encore, but it was their third song on Wednesday, partly as a way of recognizing the role SiriusXM the Highway played in launching their careers. The satellite radio station was among the first to recognize the hit potential of the song and made it a Highway Find long before the pair had a record deal. Many of the people in attendance had been following Hubbard and Kelley since early 2011, meaning there was no shortage of fans who knew the lyrics to hits like "Simple," "Dirt" and "May We All" and deeper cuts like "Y'all Boys," "Colorado" and "Talk You Out of It," their current Top 20 hit.
One of those fans was stationed in the front row for the pair to notice all night long. Bebe Rexha wasn't around to sing "Meant to Be," and they needed help, so they scanned and found Ms. Terry, a grandmotherly type with a hitch in her get-along that put just the right amount of slide in her glide. Unabashedly, she filled in for the pop star and took ownership like few fan vocalists do. This woman knew every word of her verse and rocked back and forth at the chorus, soaking in the crowd's appreciation. The moment was proof that Florida Georgia Line's music knows no demographic boundaries.
This set was a scaled back version of what the pair do playing arenas and amphitheaters, but in many ways it was a similar experience. Hubbard and Kelley's long athletic bodies still shifted from one side of the stage to another. Drummer Sean Fuller still stood to add emphasis to a fill more than any other drummer you'll ever see. A grand piano still came out for "H.O.L.Y" and the guys still took time to recognize the important roles their wives played and continue to play in their career.
Ms. Terry was the night's lone surprise, but she was delightful enough to satisfy the built-in expectation that "friends" will come pouring on stage to join a hitmaker playing in Nashville. No one famous did, but Florida Georgia Line had enough friends in the pews before them to make up for it.
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