–By Keith Brake
Florida Georgia Line brought the party to St. Louis last Sunday night while out on their “Smooth” tour. On the bill with the boys are supporting acts Ryan Hurd, Chris Lane and Nelly. Wait, Nelly? Yes, the Hip Hop powerhouse has joined the tour with these new era country boys to offer support and in doing so kicked the party up more than a couple notches. St. Louis loves Florida Georgia Line and of course we love Nelly, a hometown boy who has always remained true to his roots throughout his 17 plus years of success. As the massive sold out crowd started to file into the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater the weather could not have been more beautiful and the fans couldn’t have been more primed for a fantastic show.
First to take the stage was Ryan Hurd, an up and coming country artist with great energy and stage presence as well as a very strong voice. Being the first of four bands, Ryan and his boys played an abbreviated set but that doesn’t mean they didn’t get the people moving. After five songs Ryan thanked St. Louis for showing up early to be with him and then gave way to Chris Lane.
Chris, also a country artist, has had some early success in his young career with “Broken Windshield View” released in 2014 and is now promoting his second album “Girl Problems”. Chris has a very smooth way about him as he moves around the stage and interacts with his fans while delivering very pleasing vocals. It is obvious when you watch the crowd, the ladies don’t mind to be entertained by Mr. Lane, and as every ladies man should, Chris had some roses to pass out to a couple of lucky ladies.
As the sun began to set on the amphitheater the atmosphere was heating up, and when Nelly took the stage the giant sold out crowd erupted and came to a roaring applause. Nelly and his partners in crime (St. Lunatics) stepped out supporting St. Louis as they were adorned with Cardinals baseball caps. Nelly, is still a strong presence in the city and it is obvious with the connection that can be seen between him and his fans, fans of all ages I might add. Nelly’s set list for the evening read more like a greatest hits album with selections that included “Country Grammar”, “Airforce Ones”, “Shake Ya Tailfeather” and many more. Nelly took a moment to show his love for St. Louis by thanking them for more than 17 years of support and made one young fan’s evening a little more special by bringing her on stage. By the time Nelly had finished, the crowd was in full swing and fully primed for Florida Georgia Line.
The boys in Florida Georgia Line took the stage after sunset and then promptly illuminated what seemed to be all of Maryland Heights MO with a booming and visually fantastic start to their set. The first selection of the evening was “Anything Goes” and it brought the entire sold out crowd to its feet. I am almost certain that is where they stayed for the entirety of the show. The FGL boys know how to entertain, the production is massive complete with pyrotechnics, giant TV screens and just plain energy. The vocals and instruments are on time and on point and it is obvious that Florida Georgia Line won’t let up until their done with you. Every song, it seemed, received a standing ovation and the boys in the band only fed off of that. The took a few moments to tell St. Louis what they (the city and people) mean to them saying it was their favorite city to play outside of Nashville. They reminisced of opening for Brantley Gilbert at the Pageant a few years back and commented on the love and support they had felt that night. In a huge compliment to their fans, they gave St. Louis a large part of the credit for their success. In a show that was filled with great moments and powerful performances one would think it would be hard to choose a stand out memory, that is until I tell you that Nelly joined the boys on stage for a special version of “Hot in Here”. As you can imagine, the crowd went crazy and loved every minute of it all.
The “Smooth Tour” heads into the North East, kicking off at Fenway Park. This tour is a great way to spend an evening to unwind and party a little and gets a solid recommendation. Information concerning Florida Georgia Line or upcoming tour dates can be found at http://floridageorgialine.com/