7 Times Chris Young Was a Hometown Hero While Headlining Nashville
It's safe to say Chris Young was king of the night in Nashville on Saturday (Sept. 22) with his headlining performance at Bridgestone Arena. It marks the first time he's headlined the venue, a dream come true for the singer who grew up just outside of Nashville in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
In between a set that included many fan favorites like "Tomorrow," "Sober Saturday Night," "I'm Comin' Over" and "Losing Sleep," Young couldn't help but soak in the glory of the night, surrounded by fans that helped him achieve a lifelong aspiration.
Here are seven ways the singer, who was nominated for 2018's ACM Male Vocalist of the Year, demonstrated his hometown pride:
1. "Tonight is all your fault!"
Most performers deliver their heartfelt thank-yous about halfway through a concert—but for Young, the gratitude starting pouring out after the second song, following an impressive performance of "Gettin' You Home." He exuded sincere emotion as he addressed the sold-out arena, sharing how he was raised "five or six streets up the road" in Murfreesboro and spent his days dreaming of playing the venue where he often attended Nashville Predators games. "I wonder what it's like to stand on that stage and have that many people watch you do what you do," he recalled. He stopped to revel in a dream realized—and the roar of the crowd—on multiple occasions throughout the night.
2. A surprise performance with Brad Paisley
There were many special moments throughout the evening, and Brad Paisley's surprise introduction was a true highlight. Young sent a surge of energy through the crowd when he brought Paisley on stage—who, in typical fashion, made a joke about witnessing Young shirtless backstage before launching into a duet of "I'm Still a Guy." Paisley also took the time to commend Young on his accomplishment, citing him as "one of the finest people to ever make music in Nashville."
3. When Paisley took a fan's cell phone and made a random phone call
Anyone who's been to a Paisley show knows that his antics are as much a part of the event as the music, and he added a dose of humor to his appearance when he took a fans' cell phone from the front row and snapped a selfie with Young. He took it one step further by scrolling through the phone owner's photo gallery, and narrating what he found. And then, he decided to call a contact on the phone list, who just happened to be from his home state of West Virginia. No one picked up, so Paisley and Young left a voicemail singing "These days there's dudes getting facials / Manicured, waxed and botoxed / With deep spray-on tans and creamy lotiony hands / You can't grip a tackle-box."
4. When he brought out Cassadee Pope
Seeing as it was a hometown show, it only made sense for Young to invite his duet partner and fellow Nashville resident Cassadee Pope to join him for the lively "Think of You." The crowd offered Pope thunderous applause as she made her grand entrance and the two launched into a spirited rendition of their Grammy-nominated hit. Their voices sounding as powerful live as they do on the radio, the duet was one of the many standout vocal moments of the night.
5. His cover of "When You Say Nothing at All"
While the evening was mostly high-energy, Young brought a calming effect with his poetic cover of the classic country ballad. Young has a strong Keith Whitley influence, and often includes Whitley's legendary song in his set, but Nashville was the perfect place to bring it home. There was something peaceful about the way it was embraced during his hometown show, as the crowd lit up the arena literally and figuratively with an arena-wide sing-along that made for one of the most memorable numbers of the night.
6. When he smashed his guitar
We have to admit, we didn't see this one coming. After introducing his band during a performance of one of his rowdier tracks, "Save Water, Drink Beer," Young ended the song by smashing his guitar on stage, admitting after that was the first time he'd done it—quite a way to end a performance!
7. When he performed "The Dashboard" for his sister
After delivering the fiery closing number, "Aw Naw," Young opted not to leave the stage before coming back for the encore, but rather remain in place and switch up the final numbers of the evening. He explained how grateful he was to receive the inaugural Charlie Daniels Patriot Award from Daniels himself for his support of veterans and nonprofit The Journey Home Project. Young revealed that he wanted to perform "The Dashboard" in honor of his sister Dorothy, a former member of the Marines.
She was in the crowd that night supporting her brother, and he showed his appreciation for her and all the men and women fighting overseas with a gentle performance of "The Dashboard," an early career cut about a soldier and his special connection to his truck.
Young admitted he hadn't performed the song in a year and doesn't put it in the second-to-closing spot. But his decision to recognize his family in this fashion was reflective of the evening where he couldn't help but graciously tribute all the family, friends and colleagues that helped get him to the stage he always wanted to be on.
Young continues on the 2018 Losing Sleep World Tour through December.
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