Tim McGraw Celebrated His Birthday With a Near Sellout Show in St. Louis Saturday Night

Tim McGraw performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis Saturday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Phtography.

 

–by Sean Derrick

 

Country superstar Tim McGraw is in early stages of his McGraw Tour 2022 tour, and on only the second stop of the tour he performed for a near sellout crowd at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis, Missouri on Saturday.

McGraw is touring in support of his latest album Here on Earth. Originally, the Here on Earth Tour was supposed to begin July of 2020, but was cancelled due to, (in my best Ben Stein voice from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”): anyone, anyone? The Covid-19 pandemic, of course. The album was still released in August of that year and became another Number 1 Country album for McGraw. Now, nearly 2 years later it would seem kinda weird to hype this tour up as the Here on Earth Tour. So, they rebranded it as simple McGraw Tour 2022, and it works.

Tim McGraw performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis Saturday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Phtography.

This way McGraw can focus on his hits for his fans instead of trying to sell them on new material. He did include “7500 OBO”, a really underrated song, from the album on the setlist, but for the most part he stuck to well-established hits and a few deep cuts.

He kicked off the set with the lead track, non-single “How Bad Do You Want It” from 2004’s Live Like You Were Dying and 1999’s “Something Like That” before digging way back with 1994’s “Down on the Farm”, the 1st of three songs from his Not a Moment Too Soon LP (That’s like a CD with grooves for you youngsters).

Tim McGraw performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis Saturday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Phtography.

McGraw went back and forth throughout his vault of hits over a 30-year career. A really nice piece was performing his first Country #1 song with 1994’s “Don’t Take the Girl” right before playing his most recent single “7500 OBO”.

McGraw didn’t talk much and worked the crowd in a performance style, free from what he called “a lot of bullshit. We just play music.”

The crowd was hoping for an appearance from hometown star Nelly as McGraw performed “Over and Over”. But it wasn’t meant to be as a video of Nelly played on the screen in the background for his part. Fans seemed disappointed, (The only instance from the night) but then went right back to partying with McGraw as he morphed “Over and Over” into “Shotgun Rider”.

Tim McGraw performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis Saturday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Phtography.

McGraw, who turned 55 on Sunday was in top form, and it showed on hits like: “Where the Green Grass Grows”, “Truck Yeah” and “Live Like You Were Dying”. Faith Hill, his wife, surprised him with a preshow cake backstage and opener Russell Dickerson led the crowd in a round of “Happy Birthday”. More on him in a bit.

His band sounded in mid tour form and no rust was noticeable (it helps that he had a handful of warmup shows at festivals).

Tim McGraw performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis Saturday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Phtography.

McGraw came back out to, what everyone thought, was his usual encore that included “Indian Outlaw” and “Humble and Kind”, but instead of leaving he stepped forward. He then sang a portion of The Judds’ “Love Can Build a Bridge” as Hill joined him in a touching and emotional tribute to Naomi Judd, who passed away earlier that day from an apparent suicide after suffering from what her family described as a fight with mental illness, though many in the crowd may not have heard the news yet.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Tim McGraw performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis Saturday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Phtography.

Russell Dickerson blazed his way through a hot set and danced his way into the ladies’ hearts. From his smash hits “Yours” and “Blue Tacoma” to a dance themed medley of “MGNO” which morphed into Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” and Whitney Houston’s “I want to Dance With Somebody”.

Russell Dickerson performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis Saturday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Phtography.

He not only turned the venue into “a dance party” like he said he was going to, but for a moment I could honestly say it felt like I was at a rave, and if you didn’t know any better you may have thought you were at the wrong concert. But it was just Dickerson’s style and enthusiasm which was a nice nearly hour long compliment for a Tim McGraw show.

Russell Dickerson performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis Saturday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Phtography.

Belleville native Alexandra Kay, along with Brandon Davis, opened the show, but due to traffic problems I could only hear the last part of her performance and Davis’ set as I was walking in. Fair warning: the traffic getting into the venue this year has changed and it has slowed down the flow early on. Once they get it ironed out it is supposed to improve the traffic entering and exiting the show, but for now some kinks have to be worked out first so plan your trip accordingly so you don’t miss the incredible opening acts.

Be sure to check out the gallery of photos from the evening below the setlist.

Tim McGraw Setlist:

How Bad Do You Want It

Something Like That

Down on the Farm

Just to See You Smile

Southern Girl

Don’t Take the Girl

7500 OBO

Memory Lane

Over and Over (Nelly cover)

Shotgun Rider

Where the Green Grass Grows

Better Than I Used to Be

One of Those Nights (With “One of these Nights” by the Eagles intro)

Felt Goodon My Lips

Real Good Man

Truck Yeah

I Like It, I Love It

Live Like You Were Dying

Encore:

The Cowboy in Me

Indian Outlaw

Humble and Kind

Love Can Build a Bridge (The Judds cover)

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