CMA Fest kicked things off with a whole lot of energy for their 50th anniversary year. After a day of packed out shows throughout Nashville's Downtown area, the enthusiastic (and rather tipsy) crowds were soon making their way across the river for the opening night of the Nissan Stadium performances.
Following main stage sets from Jo Dee Messina, Jordan Davis and Luke Combs, multi-award winning country favourite Carly Pearce soon graced the adoring fans with her presence in a shimmering orange tassel dress and high-heeled white boots. Straight from the get-go she was totally glistening, sporting a rhinestone-clad microphone and guitar strap as she effortlessly strutted around stage.
What was immediately notable was Pearce's sassy, don't-fuck-with-me energy. There's a fierceness to her performance - a soulful, gritty knowing to her artistry and professionalism that's allowed her to reach the main stage of such a prestigious event.
She opened the set with 'Diamondback', which admittedly seemed to take a little while to warm into, but by the time her band rolled into 'Easy Going', Pearce was in her element. Her Kentucky roots took centre stage throughout the number, as shredding bluegrass guitar and fiddle solos guided a lively crescendo.
The set was lifted further when Pearce brought out special guest Jo Dee Messina for a rendition of 'I'm Alright'. Delivering a power-duet with smashing harmonies, the song really got the audience going, which was important following the unbeatable energy Luke Combs' set left buzzing around the now slightly more subdued stadium.
Pearce ensured to take time between songs to share anecdotes about their writing and what they each mean to her. "I knew that I wanted some extra girl power on this record", she shared about 'Never Wanted to Be That Girl. "So I asked Ashley McBryde if she would write a song with me, and she said yes. And then in February, Ashley and I won a freakin' Grammy for this song! So thank you guys for loving real country music and real stories."
Pearce's level of gratitude for her fans was truly admirable."This is my first time to play the big stage", she remarked. "God bless you country music fans. We have the greatest fans in the whole entire world and we're so thankful for it. You have changed everything for me. I swear to you I'm having an outer-body experience of saying, 'I made it'.
A real grafter, she's worked her way to the highest echelons of country music yet still remains humble and clear-visioned. "Thank you for a night I'll never forget", she screamed with joy, before closing with her no.1 single, 'I Hope You're Happy Now'.
Taken from Carly Pearce's show at The Nissan Stadium Main Stage at CMA Fest in Nashville, Tennessee on June 8th 2023
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