Jason Aldean Goes Off Script, Brings Morgan Wallen, Miranda Lambert on Stage in Nashville
Guest appearances from Morgan Wallen and Miranda Lambert and a subtle reference to a recent country family feud separated Jason Aldean's Nashville stop on the Rock N' Roll Cowboy Tour from the rest of the dates on his fall trek.
The two country superstars added a memorable middle to a high-octane night at Bridgestone Arena. Aldean's energy and enthusiasm for this hometown crowd never waned, and his audience's willingness to hear live versions of songs played exactly like they were recorded only grew as he throttled down to close the 23-song show. "Hicktown" — the 2005 hit that started his career — closed the show.
From the opening moments, Aldean made clear his intention to make sure his meaty country-rock anthems and ballads hit his hungry audience between the teeth without anyone having to stretch his or her neck to find the satisfaction. Familiarity always scales, but his comfortable approach is unique. Typically, headlining artists are searching for new ways to present old songs. A multi-song acoustic set is common, or the fusion of two or more hits (and maybe a cover) creates an unforgettable jam.
There wasn't any of that for most of Friday night (Oct. 14). Instead, the entertainer aimed his arrow at the center of a large target and kept on firing. It wasn't just no nonsense — Aldean's approach to performing in 2022 is anti-nonsense.
A full set list is below, and it mostly matches what he's played throughout the tour, with three big exceptions. Lambert was introduced as the night's first superstar guest, and she graciously sang "Drowns the Whiskey" alongside him even if the pair hadn't rehearsed it. The song was a fine choice for this songwriter's town, as it's among Aldean's best country lyrics and it showcases his partner's most under-appreciated talent: harmonies.
After singing a tight version of "Flyover States" — Aldean's band are consummate pros and have been for years — the singer mentioned that he considered calling several friends, including Luke Bryan (cheers), Kane Brown (cheers), Kenny Chesney (cheers) and Maren Morris (loud boos). This cheap reference to the ugly back-and-forth between her and his wife Brittany Aldean was more easy meat for his audience, and it only amped them up further for what came next.
Wallen and Aldean didn't as much duet on "Whiskey Glasses" as much as Aldean stood back to let the younger hitmaker work his stage. Then, in what may have been the night's true highlight, the 45-year-old reminded his crowd that before his fame, Wallen wrote a hit song for him. A truly one-of-a-kind version of "You Make It Easy" followed.
John Morgan and Chase Rice opened the show, with Rice getting a chance to play a few songs that point to a new direction in his music. While he opened with "Ready Set Roll," he played an acoustic-ish version of his most famous co-write, "Cruise," and added that his next studio album is all organic. As an entertainer, Rice is as talented as anyone who headlines Bridgestone Arena. If he can notch a half dozen more hits, he might get his chance to prove it.
Aldean's Rock N' Roll Cowboy Tour continues through Oct. 29 in Wichita, Kan.
Jason Aldean’s Nashville Rock N’ Roll Cowboy Tour Stop Set List:
1. “When the Lights Come On”
2. “Girl Like You”
3. “Amarillo Sky”
4. “Trouble With a Heartbreak”
5. “Crazy Town”
6. “Rearview Town”
7. “Big Green Tractor”
8. “That’s What Tequila Does”
9. “Take a Little Ride”
10. “Got What I Got”
11. “When She Says Baby”
12. “The Truth” (With John Morgan)
13. “Whiskey Drowns the Memory” (With Miranda Lambert)
14. “Flyover States”
15. “Whiskey Glasses” (With Morgan Wallen)
16. “You Make It Easy” (With Morgan Wallen)
17. “If I Didn’t Love You” (Carrie Underwood on Video Screen)
18. “Tattoos on This Town”
19. “We Back”
20. “Dirt Road Anthem”
21. “My Kinda Party”
22. “She’s Country”