Nashville's hot summer sun set to a mighty fine soundtrack on Friday night (July 28) as Chris Stapleton waltzed onto the stage at Nissan Stadium in his signature black dress shirt and old cowboy hat.
Playing a jam-packed, pitch perfect 90 minutes that featured some of the best tunes in his discography, you could have almost forgotten that he was only the middle act, warming up the crowd for the night's main event: the legendary George Strait.
We're not complaining about getting a little taste of the decorated entertainer's All-American Road Show, though!
Backed by his lovely wife, Morgane, and an all star lineup of musicians, Stapleton weaved his way through a setlist that exemplifies just how diverse he is as a performer. Whether it was the southern rock-tinged tunes of 'Nobody to Blame,' 'Second One To Know,' 'Arkansas' and 'Outlaw State of Mind,' tapping into his more soulful, R&B-influenced tracks like 'You Should Probably Leave' and 'Cold,' or kicking into his unique folksy, country sound with 'Starting Over,' 'Traveller' and 'Broken Halos,' the Kentucky native proved that he can do it all, and do it with ease, too.
An impressive guitar picker in his own right, Stapleton never parted from one of his trusty six strings either, going through at least half a dozen different models and playing each without breaking a sweat or missing a note.
Along the way, Stapleton treated fans to a handful of covers, which have become a staple in both his catalogue and live shows, garnering their own recorded versions across his albums. The 50,000-plus Nissan Stadium attendees screamed along to Kevin Welch's 'Millionaire' and Guy Clark's 'Worry B Gone,' and it kicked into overdrive as Stapleton gave the crowd a sampling of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird,' which he expertly combined with his own 'The Devil Named Music.'
At about the halfway mark on Stapleton's musical odyssey, fans were also treated to the newest member of his musical family: the newly-released single, 'White Horse.' Taking on the role of the lead single for his upcoming album, slated for release in November, the tune tells the tale of a cowboy who's not ready to ride off into the sunset with the love of his life just yet. With some undisclosed unfinished business to tend to, Stapleton sang the newest of his artistic crown jewels with a fiery conviction that heated up the already sweltering Nashville stadium.
Despite the heat, though, the crowd came together as one to sing along to the chilling 'Fire Away.' Donning their flashlights for one final chorus, our bearded wonder turned down the stage lights and let the crowd take the lead vocals for a special moment that reminded us all of the power of music.
Stapleton left the Nashville audience with his slow burning version of 'Tennessee Whiskey,' and the crowd utterly drowned in it.
Everyone would probably agree that there's something special to hearing your favorite songs live. If there wasn't, we wouldn't have a highly profitable touring business, now would we?
However, Stapleton just does a live show better than the rest. While the recorded version of his songs are enough to hypnotize any listener as he croons away in his husky, honey-drenched tenor, Stapleton's live versions simply outshines everything else.
Even though his upcoming record, Higher, sees our Kentucky native in the recording studio, Holler is holding out hope that, sooner rather than later, we'll be bestowed possibly country music's greatest gift: a Chris Stapleton live album.
Until that day comes, we'll just keep obsessively rewatching every moment from his masterful Nashville set.
Chris Stapleton- Setlist
Take from his concert at Nissan Stadium on Friday, July 28th 2023:
For more on Chris Stapleton, see below: